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Bishop blesses church as 20-year dream becomes reality

A 20-year old dream became a reality on September 14 when St Edmund King and Martyr Catholic church in Halesworth saw a £70,000 extension, including a new coffee and meeting room, blessed by the Bishop of East Anglia, Rt Rev Alan Hopes.

A congregation of around 100 people, included those with the original vision, other congregation members, priests, local church ministers and chairman of Halesworth town council Anne Fleming.

Bishop Alan told the congregation: "You have had the courage and strength to bring about the new building ' a courage which speaks of faith in the future of the local Catholic community here.

"You are the living stones of the Church and you lift up the cross and our crucified Saviour every time you are seen to be a welcoming community for all those who come through these doors ' serving those in need, nourishing those who seek faith and reconciliation and constantly building up yourselves in unity and love."

The church of St Edmund was consecrated in 1953 and some of those who remember those days were present at the blessing, including Simone Walker, Maureen Murphy and Peggy Brett who, 20 years ago, first had the idea of improvements and started to raise money by way of coffee mornings, jumble sales and bring and buy meetings.

Town council Chairman Anne Fleming, herself a congregation member, said: "In the spring of 2014 the plan took shape when Fr Roger De Lacy-Spencer gave the go-ahead to improve the church. We now have a new coffee room, a new disabled toilet, a new sacristy and a better entrance to the church. Nearly £70,000 was raised through efforts of the parishioners andcharities."

Large donations were received from Viridor and the Rope Trust, through the efforts particularly of Sally Cockrell and Jonathan Strange of the finance committee."

After the blessing and sung Mass, guests enjoyed a glass of Champagne and a buffet lunch.

Pictured above, outside the church and new extension are, from the left, Jonathan Strange, Peggy Brett, Fr Roger De Lacy-Spencer, Bishop Alan Hopes, Simone Walker, Beryl Budd, Maureen Murphy (and Tickey) and Sally Cockrell, all key to the project becoming a reality.

See below for a full picture gallery of the Blessing.

St Edmunds Halesworth Extension Blessing Sept 2016