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Book festival brings toilet aim closer for Docking church leaders



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Work to install toilets at a West Norfolk parish church could start this autumn after a weekend book festival helped to raise the final sum required.

Around £69,000 is needed for the project at the St Mary’s Church in Docking and most of the cash has so far been raised during a three-year campaign.

Now, officials are hopeful that a four-day book festival at the church, which ended yesterday, will yield the remaining £5,500 needed to allow building work to begin.

From left – Rev Peter Cook, church warden Jenny Barker, Neil Honeyman and treasurer, Marion Honeyman with two young visitors to the book fair at St Mary's Church, Docking (50491175)
From left – Rev Peter Cook, church warden Jenny Barker, Neil Honeyman and treasurer, Marion Honeyman with two young visitors to the book fair at St Mary's Church, Docking (50491175)

The church’s tenth festival, after a break last year because of the pandemic, brought an avalanche of donated books according to church warden Jenny Barker.

She said: “Our appeal brought thousands of books including some which are really beautiful and also a number of recently published books.”

Normally the festival runs over a two-day weekend in May. But this time with more volunteers and a great deal of enthusiasm it was decided to extend the event to four days from the Friday to the Monday.

An almost endless list of books on subjects from gardening to cookery, and crafts to biography plus children’s books filled the pews of the church almost to overflowing.

Some eager readers bought books and then settled down for a quick read with light refreshments provided by church treasurer Marion Honeyman and a team of helpers.

“We had the most people we have ever had helping out at the event this year,” said Mrs Barker.

“We’re already planning our eleventh fair which will be held in May next year.”

The campaign to build toilets started in 2018 and since then over £60,000 has been raised through donations, some of which were anonymous - and with one particular fund-raiser working extremely hard - plus grants from various public bodies.

“We thought this year’s event was possible because there is plenty of air space in the church to help keep people safe,” said Mrs Barker, adding that the majority of visitors wore masks.

“If we meet our target, we’ll be flush,” said the delighted rector, the Rev Peter Cook.



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