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So much going on at Fakenham Parish Church in build-up to Christmas

In his weekly Wensum column, Jim Harding looks at events coming up in Fakenham...

There’s so much going on at our parish church during the coming weeks, both before and after Christmas. Let’s begin on an upbeat note as we look forward to another Christmas Tree Festival. This will open on Thursday, November 30 and continue until the following Thursday, December 7.

It will be open from 10am until 8pm daily except on Sunday to allow for a festival service up to midday. Once again we are indebted to Fakenham Garden Centre for supplying free of charge the dozens of trees required. Their generosity has continued for years and has made so much difference to all the charities involved as well as the church itself.

Whilst the festival is undoubtedly a great spectacle which attracts people from far beyond the town to marvel at its Christmas theme, contributions from the public also help to raise funds for both individual charities and the church itself. This has always been a vital incentive to keep the whole show on the road. When all the festivities have finally quietened, preparations will continue for Christmas church services. Check your Beacon copy for details or pop into the church itself to confirm what will take place and when.

The entrance to Fakenham Parish Church
The entrance to Fakenham Parish Church

After long and detailed discussions, permission has finally been granted to install a new entrance to the church to make the building much easier to access and more welcoming. Like other medieval churches across the land, Fakenham’s fine old building is listed which means it needed a faculty – permission from various authorities – to make any significant changes such as this.

To avoid disrupting the Christmas season, work has been scheduled to start on January 8. It’s delightful to reveal that after much consideration the PCC has chosen to appoint locally-based firm King & Company. Because of the necessary ‘interference’ during the groundwork, an archaeological survey will be required to check what might be found at the west end of the church.

Funding such a major project has always been a concern, especially with a sum of more than £50,000 required. The legacy left by dedicated church member Doug Flegg will be of considerable help and specific grants will be targeted. Individuals are also encouraged to contribute. One source will be the forthcoming Grand Christmas Tree Draw.

Detailed plans of the proposed work may be seen inside the church. In simple terms, a ramp will be built to give the less mobile and wheelchair-bound a more comfortable way in than currently exists. As a number of pews will be removed just beyond the entrance, a convenient space will be created with new shelving, and York stone laid down to match what already exists. The wooden entrance door will be replaced with an automatically opening glass door, the design for which was commissioned by Norfolk artist Teucer Wilson.

I love the scene of flying white swans which is immediately visible. So there you have it – our church is going through another period of change as it has managed to do many times during its long life. Let’s hope all goes well and according to plan.

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