Celebrations at church in Fundenhall, near Attleborough, as new look is unveiled
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016
About 150 people have attended their historic Norfolk church to celebrate the completion of a £250,000 restoration and improvement project.
St Nicholas Church in Fundenhall, near Attleborough, has held a service of re-dedication with the Rt Rev Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford attending.
The scenes of a packed church on Sunday were the culmination of the Heritage Lottery-funded work, which saw an outside toilet installed, the creation of a kitchen and restoration work to the Grade I listed building's fragile rood loft, Caen stoneworks, floors, drains, windows and doors.
The church has also seen the removal of damaged pews, the nave has been made more accessible and outside pathway lights have been installed.
Volunteers plumbed, wired and installed the kitchen, boiler and heaters.
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As part of a community-led ethos, local school children were also involved in the project by taking part in restoration and history visits to the church, parts of which may date back to the 11th century, and writing essays on what they had learned.
As well as other various grants, the restoration work was also supported by more than 700 individual donations as residents and those who loved the church rallied round in support.
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Bishop Alan said: 'I think this is a fantastic achievement to bring this church back to a place of worship.
'The community has come together to support the church and today is a very happy occasion.'
The rector of St Nicholas Church, the Rev Suzanne Cooke, said the work would mean that more events could be held at the church.
She added: 'I am really pleased with the project and how the whole community has supported it.'
Sunday's service involved the children from Tacolneston and Wremingham primary schools who had been involved in the project.
Among the organisations supporting the project was the EDP's Community Chest campaign run in conjunction with the Norfolk Community Foundation.
Since 2005, about £500,000 has been spent on repairing the church which had to be closed 11 years ago for two years due to it being structurally unsound.
That closure led to a village fundraising campaign and, with the support of English Heritage, the church tower was re-built and the building was re-wired to make it safe for people to enter and enjoy.
The latest restoration work was carried out by contractors S&L Restoration.