Braydeston congregation in battle to raise church revamp cash

A small congregation near Norwich is struggling to raise funds to preserve and maintain its idyllic rural church.

Around �60,000-worth of work needs to be done to the church tower, but Braydeston Church, near Brundall, has just 33 people on its electoral roll and between 15 and 20 regulars at services.

It is hoping to swell its 'friendly' congregation and appeal to people who may have a long-standing connection with the area to help out and ensure the church remains open for years to come. The church has received a grant from English Heritage, but still needs around �20,000 to make up the shortfall.

It is hoped that work to repair the general wear and tear and the loose flints can start soon to ensure the church tower is safe for years to come.

Church warden of six years Doreen Graham has lived in Brundall since 1984. She started going to the church 16 years ago when her husband died.

'My husband wanted to be buried there because it is such a peaceful setting,' she said.

There are churches in both Blofield and Brundall. The church is walking distance from the villages, but it is in a secluded spot in the middle of a field. 'Between Blofield and Braydeston there is only a farm and one cottage. Braydeston church is on its own in the middle of a field,' said Mrs Graham. 'We have got a very small, loyal congregation.'

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The church holds services on Sundays at 11.15am and also has evening services during the summer when it is light.

'We have got quite a big parish really, but because we are so far out of the village, people tend to go to Brundall,' she said.

'It is a very pretty church for weddings, but we do not get many here because the congregation are old and are not getting married anymore. There has probably only been one each year.

'I just think we need to keep going. It is such a lovely setting and it's so peaceful. It would be very sad to see it become derelict.

'We just need more people to come to the church. There may be people in and around Norfolk who have connections with the church.'

She said they were hoping to swell their numbers and were really keen to attract more people, but they also needed donations to help with the maintenance.

She said the church was often visited by tourists and that it tried to get involved in village activities. They also join forces with Blofield for a flower festival every three years, which brings people to the church. She said that they were well supported by Brundall Primary School and pupils took part in the harvest festival.

Mrs Graham said: 'The tower is deteriorating and it needs to be repaired. If it is not done fairly soon it could become dangerous.'

She said there was a possibility that the church would stop being used if they were not able to pay for the repairs.

If you can help, contact church treasurer John Tester on 01603 211839.

Is your church struggling to raise funds? Contact reporter Annabelle Dickson on 01603 772426 or e-mail