Bishop Opens Church Extension

The new £100,000 timber-framed extension providing toilet facilities at St. Mary’s church was opened by the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt. Rev. Colin Fletcher, on the 8th March.

Bishop Colin blessed and dedicated the new extension to the north door at a special service in the church.  The extension provides a disabled toilet and baby-changing facilities.  The whole project will be completed by the Summer once a servery and sink area are installed.  Village building contractor PMS carried out the work and the timber framework was provided by Harald Drew.

Among the congregation were more than ninety pupils from the Primary School accompanied by head teacher Alison Bellingham and staff.  The Parochial Church Council (PCC) arranged a design competition for a celebration mug to mark the event.  It was judged by PCC secretary Janet Haylett, Linda Francis, a graphic designer from Little Wittenham and the vicar the Rev. Michael Lakey.

The winner was Amelia Smith;  runners-up were Olivia Steele-Smith, Ivy Haynes, Daniel Butterfield, Bonnie Brook-Taylor, Abigail Friend and Oliver Pepper.  They received their awards from Bishop Colin.

Grants for the project have come from the Friends of St Mary’s, Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Oxfordshire LEADER programme, the Mercy Ward Church Trust and sponsorship from local groups and individuals.

Mrs Haylett said: “The extension is part of a series of improvements to make the church a more welcoming and useful space for congregations and for the wider community.  Pews in the north aisle have been replaced with chairs which gives a more flexible social area.”

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