Village’s bid to give new lease of life to popular historic church

Stuston All Saints Parish Church, near Diss. Picture: Roger Lay

Stuston All Saints Parish Church, near Diss. Picture: Roger Lay - Credit: Archant

A small community hoping to save a historic church from disrepair and give it new lease of life have secured the funding they need to start their project.

Mentioned in the Doomsday book, parts of All Saints Parish Church, in Stuston, near Diss, date back to the 15th century, whilst other parts were built by the well-known architect Thomas Jekyll in 1861.

However, the years have taken their toll on the building's roof and tower, meaning the church is now in need of work to repair water damage, make structural repairs and ensure it is a place to go for the community.

Following a bid by Stuston Parish Church Council (PCC), the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has agreed to support the repair works, granting the community an initial £21,200 to assess the true extent of the work needed.

Roger Greenacre, the PCC project manager, said: 'We are delighted that we have received this support thanks to National Lottery players.

'This church has provided villagers with a place for worship and special occasions for centuries and it's great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for forthcoming generations.'

Not just hoping to repair the church, the PCC aims to make the church a central feature of the village.

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It hopes to turn it into a place for community events and village meetings. Without a village hall, the community is currently forced to find other venues for village events.

Mr Greenacre said: 'We have to widen the appeal of the church and we have to be able to use it for the whole community.'

Using the initial grant of £21,200, the PCC will carry out structural surveys to put together an detailed bid for a further grant of £185,000.

If successful, that would then be used to carry out the repair works to the roof and tower.

It is hoped work will begin in the early autumn. Once work begins, schoolchildren will be invited to observe how the historic structure of the church is being preserved.

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