Church to rise from the ashes

Inside the newly-refurbished Whatlington Church.
Inside the newly-refurbished Whatlington Church.

AFTER a restoration lasting three and a half years and costing more than £800,000, Whatlington Church is set for its grand re-opening this weekend (February 8-9).

The Grade II Listed 13th Century Church was devastated by fire back in July 2010.

The community pulled together to help fundraise and restore the building back to its former glory.

The church has issued an open invitation to any local people who would like to see the newly restored building to come along tomorrow (Saturday) between 10am-4pm.

Refreshments will be served throughout the day.

Visitors will be able to see the Whatlington Angels, which have recently been restored by local craftsman Edward Haringman and form a welcoming party as people enter the church.

A continuous slide show is planned with pictures of the church from before the fire, through the restoration. There will also be music on the day.

Two special services will take place on Sunday.

An All Age Service, followed by light refreshments, will take place at 10.30am.

At 3pm the Bishop of Chichester, Right Reverend Doctor Martin Warner, will lead the Grand Re-opening Service, also followed by refreshments and wine.

Organisers anticipate a full church for the 3pm service and would advise anyone thinking of coming to check in advance on 01424 772535 as most seats are now reserved. The public are instead encouraged to consider the 10.30am service to avoid disappointment.

The car park by the village hall will be open both days.

The new building is intended to be available for a wider range of events and usages.