Fire crews thanked for battling church blaze
- Credit: Archant
A senior cleric has thanked firefighters who battled a fierce blaze that devastated a church.
Firefighters from across west Norfolk were called to St Mary's Church in Wimbotsham, near Downham Market, just after 6am today.
They arrived to find flames shooting through the roof of the building, parts of which date back to the 12th Century.
Crews managed to save the building but its roof collapsed and pews, carvings and a 15th Century table were all consumed by the fire.
Hugh McCurdy, archdeacon of Huntingdon and Wisbech, went to the scene to survey the damage.
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"It's clearly very sad to see no roof and the church tower gutted," he said.
"We are grateful that the chancel was smoke damaged but not completely destroyed.
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"The 1632 church table has gone and been destroyed in the fire along with the pews and other church items.
"We're not sure what will happen but the fire brigade and police are still concerned about people walking in.
"We still need to find out what will happen and how the structure of the building is.
"The community does gather round when these things happen, as these buildings are so important to the community.
"People are already beginning to gather as news of the fire has spread quite quickly.
"The Bishop is very concerned and sends his best wishes to the wider community and the congregation.
"We're grateful for the extraordinary response from the fire brigade, who have been well led in putting it out."