“Thank You” for Saving Church Says Vicar

by Gerry Lynch last modified 14 Jul, 2015 04:55 PM

St John's, Bemerton, saved thanks to community effort and financial support from Diocesan boards and others

“Thank You” for Saving Church Says Vicar

L-to-R: (sitting) the Revd Simon Woodley, Florence Carter, Chris Cochrane, Margaret Munt, Iona Wake-Walker, Scarlett Carter, Ned Woodley; (standing) Livvy Carter (orignal fundraiser), Robert Carter, Maddy Carter, Esther Carter, Vaughan Watts.

St John’s Church in Bemerton has been saved and looks set to have an exciting future as a community space after a fundraising target was smashed. 

“I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Salisbury and the world”, said Bemerton Vicar, the Revd Simon Woodley. “In total, we’ve now raised over half a million pounds. This means we will not only be able to save the building by making it suitable for St John’s Primary School to expand into, but we can install the kitchen and toilets needed to make it suitable for a wide range of community groups. 

“We are grateful to the Diocesan Boards of Education and Finance for very substantial grants, totalling a quarter of a million pounds. Salisbury City Council provided a vital final piece of the jigsaw with funding of £20,000 this week. And when we appealed for members of the public for the last £40,000 we needed in June, we smashed that target with almost £76,000 raised, some of it from as far away as America and Australia. 

“But, most of all, I’d like to thank the whole community in Bemerton and Quidhampton which rallied round to save St John’s. I really do mean the whole community – this wouldn’t have happened if only the churchpeople had been involved. More than £90,000 was raised through sheer hard work. St John’s has a happy place in the hearts of so many people, near and far. 

“As well as saving the building for special services like weddings and baptisms, we’ve got a new place for people to come together across generations. We have been missing a centre for the two villages since the old Bemerton Village Hut closed in the 1970s. It’s also wonderful that securing the new premises coincides with a period of renewal at St John’s School, which needs the additional space to make room for its growing enrolment. 

“The shared effort has helped strengthen our community as well! We now have a new Film Club, and new focus for our Open Gardens and Christmas Concert.”

 

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