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Church praises community after reaching £80,000 appeal target
10:02am Saturday 24th August 2013 in News
IT is a major community project restoring a New Forest church to its former glory.
Villagers, businesses and community groups all dug deep to fund £80,000 emergency repairs to St Mary’s Church, Copythorne.
Now the church is inviting donors to an official dedication service celebrating the completion of vital repairs to its damaged and leaking roof.
The church, which serves the Cadnam, Bartley, Newbridge, Winsor and Ower areas, was built in 1834.
Last November , themountaineer, Rhys Jones, launched the appeal to refit the deteriorating structure and redecorate the rest of the building.
An initial £30,000 was donated by the Viridor Credits Environmental Company, followed by £8,000 from Paultons Park, £4,000 from the Hampshire and the Islands Historical Churches Trust and £2,500 from the National Churches Trust.
Contractors from Strongbond, Andover, began the three-month project in April – installing lead flashing and giving a fresh lick of paint to the vestry, chancel, choir area, nave and gallery.
Bishop of Southampton, the Rt Rev Jonathan Frost, will lead a special service from 9.30am on Sunday, September 1, where priest- in-charge, the Rev John Reeve and curate, the Rev Angie Nutt, will thank the community.
Churchwarden, Bill Littlecott, said: “The project has been a remarkable achievement in a short space of time, thanks to the major sponsors, the builders and the local community.
“We want to welcome everybody to the dedication service as a way of saying thank you.”
A free celebratory summer music concert will also take place there, from 7.30pm on Saturday, September 14, featuring the Woodside Singers.
Other donors included the Four Ways Stores and Post Office, Bartley School, Bartley Horticultural Society, Cadnam Methodist Church, Copythorne Garage and Footner and Ewing Solicitors.
More than 100 people braved the rain for a fund-raising bash in Copythorne Scout Hut Field on Saturday in aid of the church fund.
Finest Marquee Hire hosted the party in Romsey Road, Copythorne, which raised £1,000 to split between the church and brain cancer charity, the Charlotte I Believe I Can fund.
There were performances from rock band, the Rocking Fossils, music from a DJ and food from Hell’s Kitchen, while impeccably-dressed guests lined up for glamorous snaps taken by Funky Photobooth.
Ringwood Brewery and Longdown Activity Farm were among those donating prizes for a raffle.
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