Thank heavens! Sidmouth church celebrated re-vamp

Members of Sidmouth’s All Saints’ Church saw their prayers answered when the re-vamped building opened on Saturday.

A thanksgiving and rededication service celebrated the end of months of hard work and fundraising.

Church regulars have hailed the venue’s transformation and hope the revitalised building and a new link to its hall will see more townsfolk enjoy it for years to come.

Saturday’s congregation, led by vicar the Rev Roger Trumper, welcomed the Bishop of Crediton, the Rt Rev Robert Evens – known as Bishop Bob – who opened the facilities and unveiled a commemorative plaque.

Congregation member Rosemary Luff said an improved All Saints’ church was the result of many a prayer, hard work, enthusiasm and fundraising. She labelled the festivities a “joyful occasion”.

“We had a building that was dark, tired, cold and, perhaps, not immediately appealing to people not used to the traditional church,” said Rosemary. “It was not spacious enough to deal with more young families, or equipped for modern communication methods.

“We now have a 21st century environment in which to worship, but also a building much more flexible for use by the local community than previously: a light, bright and larger feeling space. The link [to hall] provides a much-needed circulating space and an easy, level access point.”

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Guests on Sunday included representatives from building contractor Skinners, dignitaries, including headteachers from Sidmouth’s Church of England schools, and clergy both past and present.

Children at All Saints’ Infants School can look forward to being able to use the church more for concerts and nativity plays.

Sidmouth Garden Centre donated and planted new flower beds, giving the new link a boost.

Architect Russ Palmer was thanked for his efforts.

Bishop Bob joined the congregation for a buffet lunch provided by All Saints’ catering team.

Residents have been invited to visit the church to see the difference.