Norwich church bids to raise the roof

Peter WalshMembers of the congregation at a historic city church are hoping that flower power will help them raise vital funds towards making improvements to the roof.Peter Walsh

Members of the congregation at a historic city church are hoping that flower power will help them raise vital funds towards making improvements to the roof.

St John the Baptist Church on Timberhill, which dates back to 1420, will be holding a Flowers and Vestments festival this weekend where visitors will be invited to make a donation towards getting the roof restored.

Lynton Johnson, a member of the church's flower guild who has been a server for the past 15 years, said it was hoped the festival would help raise money towards some of the �85,000 needed to complete the job.

He said: 'We're planning to have the roof re-slated. The nails that hold the slates on have just deteriorated and we've had lots of water coming down the columns inside.

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'The parochial church council came up with the idea of having a festival, the last one we had was about 15 years ago so we thought it was time for another one.

'It's a vestments and flowers festival and we have some wonderful vestments which are all over 100-years-old many of which are hand-made.'

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The festival, which starts today, runs until Sundaywith the flowers and vestments on show to the public between 10am and 6pm.

Tomorrow at 7.30pm there will be a concert, Music for a Summer's Evening directed by Ben Miller, for members of the public which will include a selection of madrigals, part songs and sacred works, including the first performance of Peace by composer Marcus Wortley.

Mr Johnson, 57, from Thurton, near Loddon, who is caf� manager of the Norwich Christian Resource Centre, said the event is free to all, but donations would be welcome towards the roof.

He said: 'The most important thing is trying to keep it watertight.'

For the past five years members of the church have held various fundraising events, including quizzes, to try and generate funds for the new roof, although it is still expected to take another few years to reach the target figure.

Mr Johnson said: 'We will get it done but we're just trying to raise lots of money, but the trouble is getting money. We're always asking the same people.'

The church, which replaced a previous building from 1303, was closed for some years about 35 years ago, when it was agreed that it was surplus to needs.

But when the parish church of St Peter Parmentergate was found to be in need of considerable structural rebuilding because of an unsafe tower, it was agreed that it should be abandoned, and St John's should be reopened.

Are you trying to raise money to protect a historic building? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email

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