Sea Palling church opens a room with a loo

Beautiful medieval churches are charming - but one Norfolk seaside congregation has been working hard to make theirs even more welcoming with a few creature comforts.

After a three year slog for funding, the tiny congregation of Sea Palling's St Margaret's Parish Church will celebrate the dedication of their new church room later this month.

The wooden building includes heating, a galley kitchen, two toilets and a meeting room suitable for about 25-30 people.

It stands about 25 yards from the church and has been built on an area of church-owned land called Vicarage Pightle, beside two wartime Nissen huts.

One of the huts still serves as a venue for church jumble sales, according to churchwarden Mary Vacca.

Mrs Vacca said: 'Our church is beautiful and old but it has no facilities whatsoever. Having no toilet for services, concerts, funerals and other functions just isn't acceptable in this day and age.'

The church had 17 people on its electoral roll and its fund-raising only just covered the upkeep of St Margaret's so the room had been built with �59,000-worth of grants, including �10,000 each from the Church and Community Fund and the Norfolk Community Foundation, said Mrs Vacca.

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The community had also rallied round with gifts including money, a toilet suite - and even a kitchen sink.

Others had volunteered their time to help with landscaping by planting a hedgerow and thousands of daffodil bulbs gleaned from a nearby field with the owner's permission.

The room is already in use by the Sea Palling Singers for their rehearsals and Mrs Vacca hopes other small community groups will also make use of it, including a local sewing club which is being reformed.

The Bishop of Thetford, the Rt Rev Alan Winton, will dedicate the room on November 26 during a service due to begin in the church at 2pm.

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