The small village of Redlingfield is celebrating a series of landmark events.
- The future of the village’s Anglo Saxon St Andrew’s Church has been secured with a new roof thanks to a grant of £71,800 from the Government’s Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund and strong community support and fundraising events, including cake sales, swing dances and race nights raising more than £6,000 locally.
- Two acres of land between the village’s Doorstep Green recreation area and the church have just been purchased by the village, thanks to donations of £35,000 from villagers, allowing for future events such as car boot sales as well as parking for the Doorstep Green and Church.
- Redlingfield is now launching a new fundraising drive to further repair and update the church, and for the Doorstep Green to install the road access and parking, improve play and sports facilities and introduce more wildlife areas.
Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, (pictured at the village Summer Fayre with villagers Eddie Hawes and Herbert Abbott0 was given a guided tour of the restored church before enjoying a visit to the village’s recent Summer Fayre and BBQ and he pledged to support plans to further renovate the historic building which is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The work on the roof had taken more than a year to complete at a cost of almost £94,000.
Parish Clerk Janet Norman-Philips said
“Although we have the new roof, there are more repairs needed to the walls and masonry to make it fully watertight. We plan to use St Andrews as a church and a community building as Redlingfield does not have a village hall. We want to remove some of the pews to create more space, and install a kitchen, toilets, provide running water, heating that works and fix the electrics”.
“We also intend that the new Doorstep Green land, which links the current recreation area and the church, will include wildlife gardens, more trees, and play equipment”.
“We think all of this is going to cost around £200,000, So raising all of that is going to be a big job for everyone. Luckily we don’t have to do everything at once”.
Redlingfield Parish Chairman Drew Abbott said: “Were really delighted that Dan Poulter has taken time out of his busy schedule to come along and support us and see what we’ve achieved”.
“I think it’s difficult sometimes for people to understand what it’s like living in a small rural village with no shop or pub or village hall or even pavements. Before the village got together some 12 years ago and created the existing Doorstep Green, kids used to play football and skateboard on the main road. It was terribly dangerous. What we didn’t realise was how popular it was going to become. It’s was just far too small, so we are delighted that we’ve been able to make it three times bigger. Everyone in the village has helped in one way or another”.
On Sunday, July 31, at 11.15am, a celebratory service will be held at the church. The Rt Reverend Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, will formally reopen St Andrews and celebrate the completion of the restoration work on the church roof. It is believed it will be the first time in more than 500 years that a bishop has visited Redlingfield.
Rev Michael Womack, rector of the Hoxne Benefice, is asking villagers to grab their mops and dusters on Saturday, July 23, to give the church spring clean.
He said: “Before the church re-opens it needs a good spring clean and freshen-up, and, with all the kneelers and a lot of the furniture moved, this is also a rare chance to get into the nooks and crannies.”