A CHURCH warden believes that speaking out against the controversial alterations to Tenby’s St Julian’s Church is the reason why she is not being re-appointed.
Kate O’Neill, who has been sub-warden of the harbourside church since 2006, voiced her views about the project at a Parochial Church Council meeting. She is also one of hundreds of people who have signed protest petitions fearing that the 'heart and soul' being removed from the iconic building.
The Rector, Canon Andrew Davies, has now written a letter to tell her he will not be re-appointing her for the coming year.
He added: “I will no longer be asking or authorising you to lead worship there, or anywhere in the benefice on my behalf, with immediate effect.”
“I was shocked and surprised,” said 57-year-old Mrs O’Neill. “I later saw the Rector when I went to return items from the church and we had a short and polite conversation.”
She added: “I love that church and it is a very special place. I am just so afraid that this quality will be lost.”
Mrs O’Neill received the hand-delivered letter on Monday of last week - the same day on which the locks were changed on the church.
Canon Davies told the Western Telegraph last week that he had spoken to Mrs O’Neill. “She is pleased to be relieved of this office, and so I will need make a new appointment at the annual meeting,” he said.
He added: "With regard to St Julian's being locked, last October, the electrical inspection of St Julian's revealed major flaws and the system was condemned, and our insurers insisted that the church should never be left open whilst unattended.
"Before I arrived in Tenby some sixyears ago, St Julian's was always locked up for the winter months from October through to Easter, and it is very regrettable to me that we are not allowed to have St Julian's open at the moment, until we have addressed the structural problems of the building."
*Fears for the future of the brass plaques underneath the church’s stained glass windows have been raised by a member of an old Tenby family.
James Lillycrop of Milford Haven is proud of the window donated in memory of his great-great grandfather, his son and another man who drowned in 1881.
“To replace the plaques with etched glass windowsills would be like putting a new gravestone on an old grave,”! he said. “I don’t want to see history disturbed.”