The Hub of Winterborne Stickland

by Gerry Lynch last modified 23 Jun, 2014 03:52 PM

Interior renovation at thirteenth century church helps it to be community hub

The Hub of Winterborne Stickland

Celebrating the restoration and the funding which made it possible: from left to right, Barry De Morgan, Sid Fox, Rev. Alan Ryan, Ann Fox, Andrew Page.

St Mary’s Church in Winterborne Stickland has been made more fit to be a hub of community activity, thanks to major interior improvements.

The renovation included building a mezzanine bell-ringing floor in the bell tower, to accommodate the growing number of bell ringers at the church, and a new kitchen fitted in the base of the tower. The new developments are intended to make the inside of the church a more welcoming and usable space for the community and to encourage groups like Coffee Pot to make the most of the church.

A grant of £4,000 awarded by the Dorset Historic Churches Trust (DHCT) helped meet the sum required for the work, alongside £8,500 raised by the villagers of Winterborne Stickland and the church’s 40-strong Coffee Pot morning group.

Reverend Alan Ryan, the Rector of the Winterborne Valley, said, “We’d like to say a big thank you to all the parishoners for their superb fundraising efforts and to DHCT for their generous grant. Historically, church interiors were used for all kinds of functions and we’re hoping that this renovation work will help St Mary’s Church become a real focus for the community once more. The recent work to the church has enhanced the building for all those that love the spiritual and community life that St Mary’s brings to Winterborne Stickland.”

bell ringing - winterborne stickland.jpgBarry De Morgan, Milton and Blandford Deanery Representative for DHCT, commented: “The Trust was delighted to be able to award this grant to St Mary’s Church, in order for the renovation work to be completed. This beautiful church has a vibrant and active community and it is fantastic that the renovation work will make the building more usable for the village.” 

The Dorset Historic Churches Trust is a voluntary run charity that raises funds and provides around £100,000 each year to Dorset’s churches and chapels of all Christian denominations to assist the increasing costs of maintenance, restoration and improving facilities. It has parallel organisations in Wiltshire and Hampshire.

Its main source of income is the annual ‘Ride+Stride’ that every September involves some 200 parish and church communities across the County.

Lower image: bell ringers in action on the new mezzanine platform.

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