Parishioners take matters into their own hands to complete extension of St Margaret’s Church in Upton, near Acle

Raising funds for new church facilities can often prove difficult but one group of Norfolk parishioners has refused to let that hold them back.

St Margaret's Church, in the Broads village of Upton, near Acle, was in need of a kitchen and toilet extension to provide churchgoers with the necessary modern facilities.

A fundraising project was set up by the Friends of St Margaret's Church but despite raising around �18,000, came up well short of the required �30,000 total.

So a hardy bunch of the church's parishioners have taken matters into their own hands.

One of them, Michael Powell, explained: 'Although there was a lot of fundraising within the village, it was not enough to contract somebody to do the job.

'So a local builder (Geogre Kelly) has been overseeing the project and the parishioners have been helping complete the work.'

Mr Powell praised the fundraising efforts of the project's chairman, Joyce Warren, and Dorothy Dix, who has worked on trying to raise funding through various grants.

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He hopes all their hard work is going to prove worth it, adding: 'We're hoping the extension will allow the church to be used more regularly, for concerts and events and things like that. And to host those sort of events, people expect these facilities to be available.

'We have a regular group of about 12 to 15 people who attend services and we are hoping that if the church is a little more welcoming and there are more activities happening, then we might get more people involved.'

The church - which was built between 1380 and 1450 - holds regular services under the watchful eye of its rector, Rev Nick Garrard.

He said: 'It's marvellous to see people doing this work and I'm delighted that they have taken such a positive approach and are so willing to help.

'Once the work is completed hopefully it will encourage people to come to services. It's important to have these facilities as the church is slightly outside of the village.

'So hopefully it will encourage people to come and explore the church, because it's a great place to come and reflect at quiet times. I think it's a place where people find peace.'

It is hoped that the work will be completed in time for two concerts at the church, on Saturday, May 19 and Saturday, June 16.

If you would like to contribute to the fund, contact Friends of St Margaret's Church chairman, Joyce Warren, on 01493 752237.

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