Church reopens after £300,000 of roof repairs

A church that had been closed for 15 months reopened on Easter Sunday after completion of a £300,000 repair to its thatched roof.

The Bishop of Thetford, the Rt Rev Ian Bishop, attended a special service at St Edmund's Church in Kessingland, Suffolk, to mark the occasion.

A fundraising appeal to replace the roof of the The Grade I building near Lowestoft was launched in 2018.

Rev Mandy Bishop said it felt "glorious" to return after having to use a nearby church centre for the past year.

"To be back in here today, on the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, new beginning, new era, renewal- totally appropriate for the first day back in the church," she said.

Work on the roof began in 2023 after the National Lottery Heritage awarded £168,000 towards the repair fund.

Further costs were covered thanks to support and fundraising from villagers.

Originally the repairs were expected to cost about £200,000 but that raised to about £300,000 as more issues were discovered.

Once the thatch was removed it emerged the roof rafters were rotten, with many infested with woodworm.

The building lacked adequate drainage and guttering to prevent water from seeping into the church walls.

Rev Bishop thanked the community for its support.

She said: "A very big thank you to everybody who contributed - it was a community project and it was a community that achieves.

"Together we did it, it's truly together we did it, and thanks be to God."

The Bishop of Thetford said the new roof was "stunning".

He said: "When I first saw it, it stands out for miles, it's a really beautiful piece of work and I thank all the skill of those who put it together.

"Easter is all about new life and this is a new start for this church and indeed this community."

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