Volunteers give West Stow’s church a top to bottom clean up

Some of those involved in the St Marys Church inside and outside spring cleaning day 
Picture Mark Westley ANL-160717-224211009
Some of those involved in the St Marys Church inside and outside spring cleaning day Picture Mark Westley ANL-160717-224211009
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Armed with everything from shovels to cans of Brasso, the parishioners of West Stow spent a very hot Saturday giving St Mary’s Church a spring clean from boundary to belfry.

Churchwardens Ian Hobley and Maggie Beardsmore had organised the clean up and we re pleased to see about 24 people turn out during the day, aged from four to ‘well over state pension age’.

Ian Hobley, Mike McGlasson and rural dean Rev Mark Haworth at the wall

Ian Hobley, Mike McGlasson and rural dean Rev Mark Haworth at the wall

Ian said: “We gave the church a clean, literally from east end to west end and the tower from top to bottom.”

One woman spent all day cleaning the tower, including parts the public never see, such as the clock chamber.

“I don’t know when that was last done – she made a tremendous difference,” Ian said.

A similar event was organised last year, but this weekend’s tidy up had to pay particular attention to the church’s flint boundary wall. It is believed to have been built between 1829 and 1834 and is in need of renovation.

George Jones and Janet Hobley get polishing ANL-160717-223830009

George Jones and Janet Hobley get polishing ANL-160717-223830009

They have received a £4,160 lottery-backed grant from the Brecks Breaking New Ground Partnership’s People’s Pot, for the restoration but had to clear a lot of undergrowth and ivy from around and on the wall to give access to it.

“It was very hard work on a very hot day,” Ian pointed out.

The church is now seeking estimates for the specialist flintwork on the wall, but the volunteers’ efforts mean those bidding for the contract can now see exactly what needs to be done and that they have clear access to the site to do the work.

Ian thinks they may now organise a second work party to clear the remaining ivy from the church and trees in the churchyard to complete the tidy up.