Fit for the Future in Leigh

by Gerry Lynch last modified 20 Oct, 2014 04:54 PM

Bishop of Salisbury dedicates 14th Century Church renovation, thanks to Dorset Historic Churches Trust

Fit for the Future in Leigh

(L-R): Churchwarden Anne Reason, DHCT Deanery Rep the Revd Simon Brignall, Treasurer Robert Sharpe, Secretary Judith Palmer, Karen Taylor, Churchwarden Eddie Upton

A renovation of St. Andrew’s Church in Leigh, has made the medieval building fit to serve the whole community in the 21st Century with new kitchen, toilet, heating and disabled facilities.

Following completion of the project, the parish recently held a service of dedication led by the Bishop of Salisbury. The extension was funded by a significant legacy left to the parish and local fundraising activities, with the final piece of the jigsaw being a £6,000 grant from the Dorset Historic Churches Trust’s (DHCT).

Specialist church architect, Chris Romain, oversaw the painstaking work for this extension. The work itself was carried out by local builder Brian Rigler who ensured the 9x8 ft extension remained in keeping with the style of the church’s Victorian extension, including an authentic Welsh slate roof. 

An extension to the North Aisle houses a disabled WC and baby changing facilities. The interior of the vestry has been renovated to include a new heating system and a servery which has been installed to cater for St. Andrew’s regular church fellowship and proposed future coffee mornings which are hoped to enhance the church’s community outreach. 

Robert Sharpe, Sherborne Deanery Representative for DHCT, commented: “The Trust was delighted to be able to award this grant to St Andrew’s Church, in order for the extension and renovation work to be completed. This beautiful church has a vibrant and active community and it is fantastic that the work will make the building more welcoming and usable for the village.”

Anne Reason, Churchwarden of St. Andrew’s Church, added, “It was a pleasure to welcome so many visitors to the church’s dedication service last week. We’d like to say a big thank you to DHCT for their generous grant and to all the parishoners for their superb fundraising efforts.

“Historically, church interiors were used for all kinds of functions and we’re hoping that this renovation work will help St Andrew’s Church become a real focus for the community once more.”

Leigh is a village of just under 500 people in West Dorset near the boundary with Somerset, southwest of Sherborne and southeast of Yeovil.

Does your church need financial assistance with repairs?

The county Historic Churches Trusts assist churches of any denomination in their county with repairs in certain circumstances and, in a more limited range of cases, with improvements. More information from each website Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Devon.

The Erskine Muton Trust makes grants to C of E churches in Dorset for church buildings. Grant allocations are made on the recommendation of a diocesan review committee. More details here.

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