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Rural Norfolk church needs help after being hit with £19,000 repair bill

PUBLISHED: 06:30 03 January 2013 | UPDATED: 09:06 03 January 2013

The project team who are raising £19,000 to repair structural damage at Hemblington Church. From left, Sue Shillam; Rev Canon Janice Scott; Catherine Howe; Simon Mutten; and architect, Ruth Brennan. Picture: Denise Bradley

The project team who are raising £19,000 to repair structural damage at Hemblington Church. From left, Sue Shillam; Rev Canon Janice Scott; Catherine Howe; Simon Mutten; and architect, Ruth Brennan. Picture: Denise Bradley

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The congregation of a 700-year-old rural church is appealing for help after being hit with a costly repair bill for the Grade I listed building.

Hemblington Church, in need of repairs costing £19,000. Picture: Denise Bradley Hemblington Church, in need of repairs costing £19,000. Picture: Denise Bradley

All Saints’ Church in Hemblington, near Blofield Heath, recently underwent its detailed five-yearly structural inspection.

A number of problems were identified with the church’s roof, masonry and down-pipes, problems which are going to cost over £19,000 to repair.

The Friends of Hemblington Church are now faced with raising £8,000 to ensure the work is completed before the problems worsen and become more costly to repair.

The Church Commissioners, who are responsible for some of the church’s chancel, and the parochial church council, which is responsible for the rest of the church, are paying part of the cost.

Those contributions bring the total down to around £14,000, as Sue Shillam, fundraiser for the project, explained: “Thanks to the tremendous support we have had from our growing congregation and the local community over the last couple of years, we have sufficient funds in reserve to immediately allocate £6,000 towards the project.

“That still leaves us a further £8,000 to find. The work needs to take place as soon as the winter weather has passed and will probably start early in March. It should only take six weeks at most and the church will then be ready for important events in the spring and summer of 2013.”

In a village where around 300 people live and a church which has a regular congregation of around 25 parishioners, finding that money is set to be a big challenge.

But Mrs Shillam is hoping for a helping hand from far and wide, adding: “It is quite an isolated church but it’s well supported. A local farmer put water into the church and others have paid for our electricity before.

“We are hoping people who have used the church, who have got married or been baptised there, or indeed been to a funeral at the church, will support us.

“We want to reach out to the wider church community.”

To make a donation, or help with fundraising, contact Mrs Shillam on 01603 211629 or sue.shillam@btinternet.com, Catherine Howe on 01603 270360 or ancaviniam@hotmail.com or donate at www.hemblingtonchurch.org.uk

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