All Cracked Up

by Michael Ford last modified 08 Jan, 2020 11:47 AM

A Wiltshire village with a population of just 100 people aims to raise £165,000 for their church.

The tower at St Mary’s Church in Alvediston is cracked from parapet to the ground and so church members need to raise funds to mend the ancient stonework. But at the same time they have decided to set a target that will allow them to get their 3 historic bells ringable again, put in a disabled loo and sort out all of the extra but necessary work the church needs.

The Church has therefore launched a "All Cracked Up Appeal" to raise the funds.

Pen Milburn, Churchwarden at Alvediston said:

"We’re only about 100 souls in the village, so it’s a mammoth task.

"If we allow the tower to crumble, we risk losing our church and with it our heritage. So... It’s crackers not to fix it!

"St Mary’s enjoys a special position as the focal point of Alvediston’s diverse community. Having no village hall, the church is used for a wide variety of activities. It is always open, and has been a place to gather for sacred and secular reasons for more than 900 years. Over 20% of the village attend its services (national average 2%) over the year and it is a place of quiet contemplation and even occasionally as a refuge for the homeless.

"It is visited by scores of walkers every year, as well as those with a special interest in Sir Anthony Eden, British Prime Minister in the 1950s, who is buried in the churchyard.

"External work to tower, including repairing the crack which runs from the parapet to the ground on the west side, stabilising the fragile pinnacles and parapet, and fixing the roof will cost £62,500.

"Internal work, including repairing the tower stair treads and handrail, installing a disabled lavatory in the present vestry and moving the vestry to the north chapel, and increasing the electricity supply to allow an effective heating system will cost the church £45,000.

"And the restoration of the 3 bells and bell chamber, so that they can be safely rung now, and increased in number if desired at some time in the future, is £32,000."

The parish has set up a website for their appeal: www.alvedistonappeal.co.uk.

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