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Work to restore 'architectural gem' is under way after outpouring of support

PUBLISHED: 11:39 18 May 2018

Friends of St Michael's Church, Beccles celebrate work begining  to the church porch after the £75,000 needed for repairs has been achieved.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Friends of St Michael's Church, Beccles celebrate work begining to the church porch after the £75,000 needed for repairs has been achieved. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

More than £100,000 has been raised to help restore and conserve an "architectural gem" in the heart of Beccles.

Friends of St Michael's Church, Beccles celebrate work begining  to the church porch after the £75,000 needed for repairs has been achieved.
Picture: Nick ButcherFriends of St Michael's Church, Beccles celebrate work begining to the church porch after the £75,000 needed for repairs has been achieved. Picture: Nick Butcher

Work on the porch of St Michael’s Church began earlier this week after the community rallied behind the church’s ‘Pounds for the Porch’ campaign.

This is the second phase of work to be carried out on the structure under the campaign – in 2016 the porch’s internal masonry and pinnacles were repaired.

The current work, which is projected to last until November, will see conservation stone work carried out on all three elevations of the porch.

Friends of St Michael's Church, Beccles celebrate work begining  to the church porch after the £75,000 needed for repairs has been achieved.
Picture: Nick ButcherFriends of St Michael's Church, Beccles celebrate work begining to the church porch after the £75,000 needed for repairs has been achieved. Picture: Nick Butcher

Since 2012 the campaign, which has now raised £110,000, has been spearheaded by the hard work of The Friends of St Michael’s Church who constantly staged events, collected donations and applied for grants.

Chairman Janet Kendrick said: “It was a daunting task but we were determined to do it and so we have done everything we can to raise money.

“When we began we thought it was an impossible task. Everyone told us we would never raise money making coffees and doing little concerts -but here we are.”

Friends of St Michael's Church, Beccles celebrate work begining  to the church porch after the £75,000 needed for repairs has been achieved.
Picture: Nick ButcherFriends of St Michael's Church, Beccles celebrate work begining to the church porch after the £75,000 needed for repairs has been achieved. Picture: Nick Butcher

Throughout the year the group would stage events such as fashion shows and lunchtime concerts, as well as a weekly coffee morning each Friday at the church. Ms Kendrick added: “We received grants from Suffolk Historic Churches Trust and Beccles Townlands Charity – which gives money to good causes in the town.

“Lots of businesses in the town have given generously as well.”

The chairman said the porch, originally built in 1455, is held dearly in the hearts of many people in Beccles.

Friends of St Michael's Church, Beccles celebrate work begining  to the church porch after the £75,000 needed for repairs has been achieved.
Picture: Nick ButcherFriends of St Michael's Church, Beccles celebrate work begining to the church porch after the £75,000 needed for repairs has been achieved. Picture: Nick Butcher

She said: “It’s in the centre of our lovely town. Everybody loves the church building even if they don’t actually come to church.

“It’s an architectural gem which has seen so many weddings and funerals come through.

“We are over the moon - everybody thought it was an impossible task but somehow it just sort of grew.”

Rector of Beccles Rich Henderson commended the group’s dedication and said: “It’s amazing that we have got here at all.

“You cannot underestimate the sheer hard work that went in to making this happen.”

For more information on future fundraising events visit www.becclesparish.org.uk

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