More funds needed to restore St John's at Hawkchurch

PUBLISHED: 11:42 24 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:46 24 October 2019

The  Gibbins and Thatcher Families during the concert  at Hawkchurch.  Picture: Philip Wallis

The Gibbins and Thatcher Families during the concert at Hawkchurch. Picture: Philip Wallis

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Fundraising is continuing at Hawkchurch after work to restore the village church uncovered additional problems.

The floodlit St John the Baptist Church at Hawkchurch.  Picture: Philip WallisThe floodlit St John the Baptist Church at Hawkchurch. Picture: Philip Wallis

So far around £105,000 has been spent on repairs to the tower, west window and clock at St John The Baptist Church, which was mainly covered by a generous legacy.

But because the work exceeded the original estimate by about £40,000 it has absorbed funds intended for a new kitchen and toilet, which is expected to cost around £60,000.

Roz Fox, regular churchgoer and parish councillor, said: "As is often the case with these projects, once work had commenced more problems were found.

"This has meant that, although the fabric restoration is almost complete, it has used up the funds that were intended to provide the church with a much-needed servery and toilet to enable it to host weddings and other village events. Repairs are also still needed to the roof and gutters."

The first event to raise the additional funds was held in the church on Saturday, October 19.

A concert was given by three generations of the talented Gibbins and Thatcher families who played music from the 1950s to the present day.

The performance got off to a resounding start led by Brian Gibbins on rhythm guitar and the group played an eclectic mixture of music across many genres including, pop, gospel, jazz and classical.

The performers were amazingly versatile, switching easily from guitar to keyboard to flute and voice.

More than 100 people attended the event. Refreshments were provided and brought around in the interval whilst people were encouraged to take their own drinks including alcohol.

Mrs Fox added: "An impressive £1,320 was raised but more is needed."

The next fundraising event is to be held on Saturday, November 30, and will be a candlelit supper in the Church.

The newly restored west window will be spotlit from outside so that its beauty can be appreciated.

Tickets will be available in the village shop from the beginning of November priced at £10. Places are limited so people are advised to book early.

The church dates back to Norman times and has a fine early Tudor tower. It was restored in the Victorian period by the firm of Thomas Hicks to whom the author Thomas Hardy was apprenticed.

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