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Church work ready after bats delay

PUBLISHED: 16:44 29 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:48 07 July 2010

Fabric officer Oliver Prince-White and churchwarden Barbara Allen in the Church of Our Lady St Mary in South Creake.

Fabric officer Oliver Prince-White and churchwarden Barbara Allen in the Church of Our Lady St Mary in South Creake.

AN £80,000 church repair has finally been completed after work was delayed to avoid disturbing the lofty homes of bats living in the roof.

After securing grants from English Heritage to add to church funds, the project team at the Church of Our Lady St Mary was ready to push ahead with urgent maintenance on the leaking north nave roof last May.

AN £80,000 church repair has finally been completed after work was delayed to avoid disturbing the lofty homes of bats living in the roof.

After securing grants from English Heritage to add to church funds, the project team at the Church of Our Lady St Mary was ready to push ahead with urgent maintenance on the leaking north nave roof last May.

But on advice from diocese bat officers, contractors had to wait until November before starting work on the impressive medieval building in South Creake.

The church's ornate stone cross was finally replaced on April 15 and the last of the scaffolding is soon to be taken away after replacement batons and slate tiles were installed throughout the winter.

Church warden Barbara Allen said she was relieved the project was now complete.

“We knew the bats were sacred so we could not push ahead as early as we hoped,” she said.

“The builders have worked through the coldest, iciest winter for some years and it was very difficult for them, but they have done a great job and I'm relieved it is finished.

“It has been a bit of an adventure, and one of the most troublesome things we have ever done.”

Mrs Allen said the bats were a constant nuisance, leaving droppings in the church and swooping down on visitors - most recently at a concert by the Creakes Student Chorus and Sinfonia on April 8.

“We always hoped the opera might frighten them away, but they were flying down over people's heads and making them duck,” she said. “We have to cover the altar, statues and books with

polythene to protect them from droppings. If we didn't have someone who cleaned the church every day, we could not use it.”

The repairs were overseen by Norwich-based architect Nicholas Warns and the church's fabric officer Oliver Prince-White.

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