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Needham Market church to reopen after thousands invested in major repair work

PUBLISHED: 17:48 31 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:51 31 August 2018

External scaffolding at St John the Baptist Church in Needham Market Picture: GREGG BROWN

External scaffolding at St John the Baptist Church in Needham Market Picture: GREGG BROWN

A historic church in Mid Suffolk is hosting a weekend of celebrations following a successful restoration project costing upwards of £370,000.

St John the Baptist Church in Needham Market spent thousands on restoration work Picture: GREGG BROWNSt John the Baptist Church in Needham Market spent thousands on restoration work Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Church of St John the Baptist in Needham Market is set to reopen after a six month project to repair the building’s unique oak single hammerbeam roof – which has been damaged by infestation, rotting wood and water ingress.

The Grade I-listed church has organised a celebration weekend with a medieval theme to mark the special occasion – with a talk from a local member of the House of Lords, as well as a session of Morris Dancing and displays of the extensive work undertaken to restore the historic building.

Over the course of more than two years, the church raised money in the community, received donations and was also awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to achieve its funding target for the costly restoration work.

The church received £227,800 from the HLF to reach its £377,000 goal to fund the repairs – which began in January 2018.

The improvement work will allow the number and range of church events to be expanded, including concerts, stage presentations and question time events.

The building’s value as an educational resource will also be developed, with opportunities for more school visits and full day projects, in addition to using the church as a drop-in centre for advice on social issues.

The celebration weekend will take place from September 14 - 16, and is free for all to attend.

A full programme of events is listed below:

Friday, September 14

7pm onwards: Baroness Scott of Needham Market, roof funding patron, to give a talk on her time in the House of Lords

Morris Dancing in the church

Refreshments and licensed bar

Displays of the work that has been undertaken

Saturday, September 15

9.30am - 4pm: Church opens with displays of work on the roof

Old registers available to view

Floral displays

Refreshments available

Sunday, September 16

10am: Celebration service

4pm: Cafe Church in the Ark

6pm: Celebration songs of praise

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