News

The wait is finally over!

21/12/2023

It has been eight years in preparation and eight months in execution but, finally, Phases 1 and 2 of the restoration of St Nicolas Church at Hail Weston are now complete.

The church was full, as funders, members of the clergy and Hail Weston PCC, fund-raisers and supporters recently joined St Nicolas Church Restoration Group members to dedicate the new facilities and celebrate full disabled access into the church, the removal of the Victorian south porch, its restoration and re-erection over the north door of the church, and the building of a small extension on the site of the old south porch, which now houses a disabled toilet and small servery.

Anne-Marie Hamilton, Chairman of the Restoration Group said, “When we initially consulted with the local community about how they saw the future of St Nicolas Church, it became very clear that there was a genuine desire to make it more available for use by the local community when it was not needed for church services. However, the biggest obstacle to that happening was the lack of basic facilities within the church, which was currently limiting its use. The plans for improving the facilities needed to be sympathetic to our much-loved Grade 2* listed building and to enhance it, rather than detract from its simple, country aesthetics. We were incredibly fortunate to have the services of Peter Slinger, a conservation architect from Peterborough, who understood exactly what we were trying to achieve and has produced the perfect design for us.

We are deeply indebted to our two main funders, TheThalia WB Community Fund and FCC Communities Foundation, for providing a significant amount of the funding for this project. However, we are also extremely aware that without the additional, very generous funding and support from our other funders too, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Benefact Trust, The Bernard Sunley Foundation, The Congregational and General Charities Trust, the Beatrice Laing Trust and Cambridgeshire Historic churches Trust, this project would never have got off the ground.

What has been most heartening of all has been the ongoing support of our local community - the local organizations and individuals who have supported, and continue to support, the restoration work at St Nicolas. We are very grateful to everyone for enabling us to complete the first two, most complex phases of the whole project. There is still more to do before the entire restoration is complete, but now that we have installed essential facilities, the church can be used and enjoyed more easily by everyone locally.”