‘Save St Michael’s Church’

Call for working party to be formed.

A working party should be formed to get the views of the wider community over the potential closure of St Michael’s Church.

That is the view of Anne Davies, who told a public meeting: “We should go forward in faith to find the best answer for St Michael’s, St Paul’s and the community of Honiton.”

Former town councillor Ron Farnham drew attention to the huge crowds attracted to St Michael’s for Hospiscare’s annual Service of Light.

He suggested St Michael’s revert to being Honiton’s parish church, with St Paul’s and the adjoining Mackarness Hall becoming the town’s community centre.

Churchwarden Julia Beaman said Honiton Town Council had already looked at the venues and “can’t afford to convert them into what it wants”.

Honitonian Owen Tratt, who was born just yards from St Michael’s Church, said: “I don’t think St Paul’s is posh enough for them.”

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Mr Tratt also called on the Exeter Diocese to “supply Honiton with a young and energetic curate”.

He said: “It greatly saddens me how much Honiton has expanded. The population has trebled, but people are not going to church - just for Christenings, weddings and funerals.

“How can there be a future for our churches on that?

“The people of Honiton are letting our churches down.”

Councillor Vera Howard, the ‘mother’ of Honiton Town Council, shed a tear as she explained she is a Honitonian born and bred and that many members of her family are buried in St Michael’s Churchyard, including her late husband, who worked at Honiton Railway Station and was well-known throughout the town.

“I wouldn’t like to see St Michael’s Church closed completely,” she said.

“If there are people who are willing to get together and sort this out it would be brilliant.”