£250,000 appeal for Sidmouth church reorder

AN APPEAL to raise £250,000, half of what is needed to reorder Sidmouth Parish Church has been launched by its Rector.

AN APPEAL to raise £250,000, half of what is needed to reorder Sidmouth Parish Church has been launched by its Rector.

It comes after years of discussion and recent permission by the Diocesan Chancellor to proceed with a major phased renewal and reordering project.

The Reverend Prebendary David James, Rector of St Giles and St Nicholas, says the Parochial Church Council has agreed to underwrite the cost by £250,000. The remainder will be found through the appeal.

In the first phase the floor will be renovated, heating upgraded, tired and uncomfortable Victorian pews replaced, lighting improved and the altar brought forward.

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The altar will be moveable so that concerts and other events, such as those during Folk Week, can take place towards the front of the church.

John Scott of Oliver West and John Scott Architects London, is architect and project manager.

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He is also a Victorian specialist who, says Mr James: "is concerned we restore some of the Victorian decoration which was painted over in the 1960s."

His previous commissions include a major reordering scheme for St Margaret's Church, Topsham.

Mr James said: "I am confident that the necessary funds will be raised and I look forward to the completion of the project when the renewed parish church will be more modern and better fit the needs of Sidmouth in the 21st century."

He said the proposals had been met with enthusiasm by bodies such as the Victorian Society and English Heritage.

Philip Hughes, chairman of the appeals committee, said: "Raising the funds will be a challenge. It is hoped that not only members of the church will contribute generously towards the cost, but also organisations and societies in Sidmouth who use the facilities of this beautiful building."

As well as a series of fundraising events, sponsorships will be available, allowing donors to dedicate their gift towards such things as a floor stone, new pew or to the general reordering fund.

Leaflets are available in the church to pledge donations.

The church can be traced back to the 12th century and has undergone many changes. The tower is 15th century, the nave and chancel were rebuilt in 1860 and the vestries enlarged in 1963.

* To make a donation contact the appeals committee at Church Cottage, Church Lane, Sidmouth, EX10 8LG or call (01395) 578566.

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