September 2 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, June 1, 2014
A poignant thanks giving service was given to a packed congregation at Fakenham Parish Church exactly one week after the town was hit by a devastating fire.
Prayers were given for those trying to get their lives back on track, including people who lost their homes and business owners who have been badly affected.
During this morning’s service the rector of Fakenham, rev Adrian Bell presented a cheque for £1,000 to members of Fakenham fire brigade for The Fire Fighters Charity, which supports serving and retired fire fighters, fire personnel and their families.
The biggest fire Fakenham has seen since Tudor times started during the previous week’s Sunday service.
Flames ripped through the former Aldiss building, just metres in front of the 14th century church, as the choir had just finished their opening song.
Churchgoers were rushed to the safety of St Peter’s Garden while others rescued its valuable oil paintings, silver and vestments.
Mr Bell said: “I hope to never again have to shout the words, ‘fire! Get out of the church.’
“Thankfully everything turned out okay here.
“Over the last week thousands of people have come to see the charred remains of the former Aldiss building and also many have come into this church.
“The number of people who have been here and the amount of letters I have received have made me realise how much people love this building.
“When the Aldiss building comes down people will be able to see the church how early Christians would have seen it.”
He added: “Despite everything that has happened people have retained a sense of humour.
“As the toxic smoke was coming out, one person was heard to say, ‘as soon as we see the white smoke, we will know we are getting a new vicar.’
“In Britain it is through humour that we cope with these things.”
Before presenting £1,000 to Fakenham fire fighters, Mr Bell said: “As we removed the valuable items, I thought the church would burn down, but it wasn’t to be.
“Thank God for our fire fighters who showed such courage.”
All church events are continuing as normal.
Gary Thorpe, watch manager at Fakenham Fire Station, said: “We are very grateful for this support from the church and the support from the public over the last week has been overwhelming.
“When you join the fire service you don’t expect hero worship.
“It’s really nice for the guys to get this recognition.”
Investigations into the cause of the fire are continuing.
Have you been affected by the fire? E mail firstname.lastname@example.org