Vandalism causes church volunteer to retire after 58 years of service

Maurice Philpot

Maurice Philpot - Credit: Archant

He has been involved with the parish churches of Burston and Shimpling, near Diss, for 58 years but a spate of vandalism has caused Maurice Philpot to announce his retirement.

The Churches Conservation Trust are opening up no longer used churches in the region over Easter for

The Churches Conservation Trust are opening up no longer used churches in the region over Easter for local people to explore. Pictured is St George's Church, Shimpling, which has a Norman round tower, a 15th century font and medieval glass. - Credit: Archant © 2011

The 74-year-old was the church warden at the Church of St George, Shimpling, when it was declared redundant in June, 1987.

The building was taken over by The Churches Conservation Trust and Mr Philpot continued as a volunteer to organise events, services and to keep the church clean.

The church was open to the public 24 hours a day and Mr Philpot said there was not a problem with vandalism until an article in a national newspaper last year named the building as one of the creepiest abandoned places in the country.

Mr Philpot, who lives in Lowestoft, said: 'The tower door has been forced a number of times and the lock was recently stolen.

'It was the only place to keep things so candlesticks, a cross and a large altar book given to the church by an old rector in 1825 have been stolen.

'The article is the sole reason. Before that we did not suffer any vandalism.

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'It has been a catalyst in making my final decision to give up.'

The former parish council clerk's last act will be signing in participants for the Norfolk Churches Trust cycle ride on Saturday, September 10.

'I have loved being part of this church,' he said. 'I have loved the building and being involved with the people.

'I have been involved with the cycle ride since it started. If anyone wants to hear anything about the building then I will be here.

'The church, I am content, is in good hands with The Churches Conservation Church.'