Giving thanks with a banquet

A church is not the first place you would think of as the setting of a lavish banquet.Most would expect it to be in a grand house or magnificent hall.

A church is not the first place you would think of as the setting of a lavish banquet.

Most would expect it to be in a grand house or magnificent hall.

So many were surprised when it was suggested that Chatteris Parish Church would host such a grand event.

And organisers believe history will be made when a banquet is held inside the church to celebrate the successful completion of an appeal to raise money for a new floor.

Chairman of the banquet committee Katherine Childs said: "I think we will be making history. There may have been something in the Middle Ages but I think it is a wonderful idea that the church is being used for this."

Diners sitting in the nave will be able to admire the new oak floor, which has cost £60,000.

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A substantial part of the cost has been spent on replacing the membrane under the floor which had crumbled, allowing damp to penetrate.

The appeal, which has been running for nine months, has raised £22,000 towards the bill.

Some of the floor became so dangerous that the whole of the south aisle and other areas had to be cordoned off. Many events such as coffee mornings, a quiz and a silent auction have been held and there have been donations from individuals and organisations.

The guest of honour and speaker at the event on November 10 will be the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Hugh Duberly. The Archdeacon, the Venerable Hugh McCurdy, will be speaking in response.

It has been possible to hold the candlelight banquet in the church because it does not have fixed pews. Guests will sit at two long tables.

The menu is being kept a secret.