The bells will ring out for Christmas

Parishioners in Wiston heard the church bells ringing out for Christmas for the first time in two years yesterday (Sunday) following the successful completion of repairs.

The phase one repairs at St Mary Magdalene’s Church meant the congregation has been meeting in the local school for the past seven months while the work to the tower, belfry and floors was carried out.

But the vicar, Rev Nicholas Cale is confident the church will be ready to hold Christmas services and the repairs to the church’s famous tower meant that the church bell could be rung for the first time in two years.

“The scale of the deterioration of the wood in the belfry was much worse than we had realised,” Rev Cale said. “But our architect, Frans Nicholas, and his team have worked wonders to finish these vital repairs in time.”

Worshippers will notice quite a difference when they arrive, added Rev Cale, with the pews removed and replaced with chairs and the floors renovated.

The scheme has cost more than £100,000, with parishioners raising £20,000, supplementing a grant of £87,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Phase two of the restoration is expected to start in 2014 and will adapt the church further to make it available for wider use by the community at large.

Services in Wiston Church over Christmas will be the annual Crib Service at 3pm Christmas Eve and the Midnight Mass at 11pm, Christmas Eve, as well as a Family Eucharist at 10am on Christmas Day.

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