Fundenhall church is set to reopen

£250,000 has been awarded to Fundenhall church for repairs.

£250,000 has been awarded to Fundenhall church for repairs. - Credit: Archant

A special service will mark the reopening of a church following a year-long £250,000 restoration programme.

St Nicholas Church in Fundenhall will host the service on May 8 from 2.30pm to 3.30pm, followed by refreshments and tours of the medieval building.

Carol Eastwood, one of the wardens of the Grade I listed church, said she was delighted the church had been saved from decay.

She said: 'We hope that everyone who knows the church, far and wide, will join us to celebrate this achievement.'

The Heritage Lottery-funded project has included conservation of the church's roof, floors, drains, windows and doors.

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Contractors S&L Restoration worked to conserve the church's fragile rood loft, thought to be one of the last such lofts with original medieval paintwork left in England.

Work has also been done on the church's Caen stoneworks, and a kitchen and environmentally-friendly toilet have been added. Mrs Eastwood said: 'We are delighted that the improvements include a new kitchen so this will be the first time we can use this to serve refreshments to our visitors.

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'It also means that we no longer have to wash our hands nor fill our kettle from the churchyard tap.'

Mrs Eastwood said the restoration had focused on transforming the church into a community space while preserving the building's heritage.

She said: 'Improvements have been made to open out the space in the nave by moving the font, the Victorian pulpit and the damaged pews and wooden platforms .

'The re-tiled floor is now fully accessible and provides the village with a community space.'

Mrs Eastwood said youngsters had taken part in workshops on stained glass and the science of conservation during the restoration.

She said: 'Preserving local heritage and promoting this to local children is a major theme in the community programme.

'Special thanks go to Wreningham Primary School and Tacolneston Primary School.'

Since 2006 about £500,000 has been spent on repairing the church, which was closed two years earlier when stonework began falling from its distinctive square central tower.

The Rt Rev Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, will officiate the reopening along with the church's rector, Rev Suzanne Cooke.

Artworks by schoolchildren will go on display. Anyone in need of transport to the service should contact Diane Burridge on 01508 489257.

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