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Celebrations at Mautby church as £100k extension is finished

PUBLISHED: 17:43 27 February 2015 | UPDATED: 17:43 27 February 2015

A dedicated congregation have had cause for praise - and celebration - after a much-needed £100,000 extension to their historic church was completed.

The bolt-on building to Mautby’s round tower church now houses a sleek new kitchen and toilets and marks the end of a four year fundraising mission.

A need for the extra facilities was first raised in the late 1990s but was put on hold as the church could not afford the new-build.

The issue was brought up again in 2010 and in 2011 the congregation made a pledge to stop talking about the scheme and get on with it, and fundraising for their six-figure total began in earnest.

From fetes and flower festivals to table top sales, wine tasting evenings and tours of the ancient stone tower, the entire community threw itself into the project and happily hosted a range of events.

And some even dedicated special occasions to boosting the coffers with one lady eschewing presents for her 90th birthday in favour of donations and a newly wed bride and groom asking their guests to contribute to the church fund.

Richard Howard, church treasurer, said: “My wife and I renewed our vows on our 20th wedding anniversary and asked for donations to Mautby church; the congregation and villagers have helped with the fundraising.

“It’s a lovely achievement, we have worked hard and really one has got to thank all our local supporters and the congregation for their determination to achieve this particular goal.”

The fundraising was given a generous boost with a legacy from a regular churchgoer, which helped pave the way for construction work to start last April.

Secrets of the church grounds were revealed during the build, with archaeologists unearthing an ancient medieval burial site. Among the graves was that of a priest who was buried with a wax object on his chest.

Mr Howard said: “We’re told this is extremely rare, previous finds of wax objects had only been found in monasteries. It’s been taken away and is now at Reading University.”
Other interesting finds included oyster shells, indicating that the coast line once came as far in as Mautby.

It is now hoped the new facilities will allow the church to host many more community events, starting with a concert from local singer Dale Bullimore on April 17. The extension will be officially opened by the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, next month.

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