THE Bishop of Winchester recently visited one of Hampshire’s smallest villages to lead a special service.

The Rt RevTim Dakin conducted a celebration and re-dedication of East Stratton’s All Saints’ Church following completion of a £200,000 restoration project of the Grade 2 listed building.

On Sunday, February 17, after the morning service, the bishop joined local dignitaries and parishioners in the village hall for drinks and lunch.

The service was the culmination of three years work by residents of East and West Stratton, who raised the necessary funds.

Church warden, Chris Hilling, said: “Given that East & West Stratton number only about 70 households, this has been a truly remarkable achievement and shows what can happen when a local community throws its weight behind a project.”

The Hampshire Chronicle reported in 2009 how Lord Northbrook had set up an appeals committee to save the church, which required urgent repairs to the roof, tower and churchyard wall.

The committee raised over £40,000 from events within the parish, supplemented by various grants from charities, as well as English Heritage.

Lord Northbrook said: “We are indebted both to English Heritage for their generous grants, without which we could not have restored our church, and to Patrick Craze, a resident of East Stratton, for his unstinting work in securing all our grants and in managing the restoration works.”