New altar gives a new lease of life in South Norfolk church

Father Colin Patterson from London, Cliff and Jacqueline Amos who saved the church, Bishop Norman Ba

Father Colin Patterson from London, Cliff and Jacqueline Amos who saved the church, Bishop Norman Banks (The Bishop of Richborough and Assistant Bishop in the Doicese of Norwich) andnFather Philip Gray from Mendlesham - Credit: Archant

A congregation at a south Norfolk church were celebrating after their new altar was consecrated yesterday.

Norman Banks, Bishop of Richborough, consecrated the altar at All Saints Church in Hargham, between Attleborough and Snetterton, at a special service.

The altar, which bears five crosses representing the five wounds of Christ, was paid for with a grant from the Cottam Will Trust.

Father Philip Gray, vicar of Mendlesham and chaplain at Norfolk Churches Trust, said: 'Father Cottam stated in his will that money should be spent on objects of beauty in medieval, gothic churches.

'The altar is an object of beauty and will enhance the worship here.'


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More than 40 people packed into the church yesterday for the event.

The building is leased to Norfolk Churches Trust.

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Once a derelict ruin covered in ivy, the church was saved by Cliff and Jacqueline Amos from Attleborough, who took the church under their wing and spent years restoring it in the 1970s.

It was a labour of love for the couple and, once the restoration work was completed in the early 80s, their daughter, Marina, was baptised in the church.

'When I moved here from Hampshire, I heard there were some ruined churches and I wanted to find some. I didn't expect to find 350 of them. In 2005 Marina was married here,' Mrs Amos said.

The church opens its doors for just three services a year – May, Harvest and a Christmas carol service.

Mrs Amos added: 'The altar was installed in December. You can place a candle in the cross in the middle and is gives a lovely glow. We don't have any electricity so our church is lit by candlelit at Christmas.

'It's beautiful.'

The church also benefited from a grant worth more than £88,000 from Norfolk Churches Trust which helped to meet the cost of new tiles for the roof.

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