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Hargrave's historic St Edmund's Church wall saved from collapsing after £55,000 fund-raising campaign



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A 900-year-old church wall which was in danger of collapsing has been restored after a £55,000 fund-raising campaign.

In late 2014, concerns were raised about cracks beginning to appear on the east chancel wall of St Edmund’s Church, Hargrave, which worsened in 2018 after a hotter than usual summer.

It was then the parochial church council decided something had to be done before the wall further deteriorated and possibly collapsed, and an 18-month campaign was launched to fund-raise for the underpinning and overall repair.

Peter Reddick said he applied for 30 grants to help raise money for the repair Picture by Mecha Morton
Peter Reddick said he applied for 30 grants to help raise money for the repair Picture by Mecha Morton

After 15 months of restoration work, the wall has now been secured.

“It’s a great relief,” said Peter Reddick, a parochial church council (PCC) member for 15 years, who applied for 30 grants in total and helped to organise the remedial work.

“I am thrilled that we have conquered what seemed like a huge problem for us. It was obviously a very big challenge.”

There were concerns the wall could collapse had the repairs not been done in time Picture by Peter Reddick
There were concerns the wall could collapse had the repairs not been done in time Picture by Peter Reddick

The repairs were carried out by local contractor Kevin Green, with Whitworth Architects and the Morton Partnership, who were in charge

Peter said that Kevin had been a ‘one-man band’ carrying out the 15 months of underpinning, drainage improvement, restitching of the cracks and resizing one of the windows throughout the pandemic.

Thirty per cent of the money needed to carry out the works was fund-raised through community activities, including the village’s annual barbecue.

The remainder came from bodies including the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, the 300-year-old Hargrave Charity, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Allchurches Trust, The Lord Belstead Charitable Trust and Havebury Housing Partnership, among others.

The cracks first appeared in late 2014 and gradually worsened Picture by Peter Reddick
The cracks first appeared in late 2014 and gradually worsened Picture by Peter Reddick

With the work now finished, the Grade II listed church can apply to be taken off Historic England’s ‘At Risk’ register and Peter said the church workers could get back to focusing solely on their roles.

“There is a sense of relief and delight that the church and the PCC can get on with their outreach to the community and their spiritual work,” he said.

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