Volunteers wanted to help restore cushions at St John’s Church in Great Yarmouth

Project co-ordinator Rachel Harrison with some of the hassocks outside St John's church in Great Yar

Project co-ordinator Rachel Harrison with some of the hassocks outside St John's church in Great Yarmouth. Photo: GYBC - Credit: Archant

A project to restore kneeling cushions at a former church is looking for volunteers.

St John's Church, Yarmouth is home to a new Art Installation with every day objects haning from the

St John's Church, Yarmouth is home to a new Art Installation with every day objects haning from the church ceiling. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust acquired St John's Church last year for £1 and plans to repair and conserve the Grade II-listed landmark, which has been empty for about a decade, as a conservation and cultural heritage hub.

The charity is running a series of activities and exhibitions to keep the building on the corner of Lancaster Road, near the seafront, in the public eye.

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Thanks to a £6,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the trust is now launching a project based around hand-decorated kneeler cushions, known as hassocks, which hang in front of the pews and were previously knelt on by worshipers in prayer.

Project co-ordinator, Rachel Harrison, who previously led on the trust's conservation project at Hopton Ruined Church, said: 'The kneeler cushions are unique and personal creations, which are very much part of St John's and its history, so they deserve to be conserved as much as the fabric of the building itself.

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'Training local volunteers to record and repair the historic hassocks, and create new ones based upon their own stories, is a very hands-on way to involve the community in this project at an early stage.'

She said she hoped people of different ages and cultural backgrounds would volunteer to try their hands at various forms of needlecraft to create their kneeler cushions.

Volunteers are invited to get involved by researching, repairing and conserving the existing collection of cushions, most of which feature religious symbols and are lovingly hand-stitch or embroidered.

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Over the coming weeks, the trust will hold regular 'knit and knatter' sessions for people to share their cultural stories through conversations, to learn to repair and conserve hassocks, and to create new ones with designs based on their own memories and heritage.

Then later in the year, both new and old hassocks will form part of a public exhibition.

St John's is currently hosting a floating art exhibition, called Suspended between Art, Architecture and Preservation, which features objects suspended from the ceiling.

To volunteer contact Rachel on 07785 750129 or rachel.gypt@gmail.com

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