Work progressing at St Mary’s, in March - the church that’s rising from the ashes

Just over a year ago, it was a smoking ruin. Only the shell of the historic 19th century church survived, after it was engulfed in fire.

Structurally unsound, just the external brick work remained of St Mary's Church at Westry, on the northern outskirts of March.

Now the first wooden roof trusses have been put in place as the renovation of the 130-year-old church continues in leaps and bounds.

Principal king post trusses which support the roof have arrived on the site.

Contractors E Bowman & Son Ltd have started installing them - offering a glimpse of the church's new chancel arch.

The trusses are being put in place using the same techniques employed by the original craftsmen who built the church 138 years ago for less than �3,000.

Work on the building is expected to take at least another year to complete, before it can re-open for worship.

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Thirty firefighters from across Cambridgeshire fought the blaze, which broke out on the morning of March 15, 2010.

They were unable to save the interior and roof from the flames.

Investigators said the fire was started deliberately. It came after a series of attacks such as smashed windows.

Bibles were piled up near the altar and set ablaze. But clergy vowed to rebuild the church, which had served their town for more than a century.

The parish of St Mary's was founded in 1868. In 1874, a church was built of decorated stone, costing �2,500, to serve its growing population. Its tower had a single bell.

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