Carols will mark opening of South Downs church

S44551H14 St Botoph's Church roof repairs are complete
S44551H14 St Botoph's Church roof repairs are complete

Phase one of urgent repairs to a wayfarers’ church on the South Downs are complete and an opening day has been announced.

A special re-opening day will be held at St Botolph’s Church, in Annington Road, Botolphs, in December, so people can see the results of the year-long first phase of the £380,000 project.

The Grade 1 listed Anglo Saxon church, now in the hands of the Churches Conservation Trust, is part of the 3Bs Parish of Upper Beeding, Bramber and Botolphs.

Overlooking the River Adur and just off the South Downs Way, the idyllic setting lends the church, a simple building, as a perfect refuge for passers-by.

Rodney Gunner, chairman of the friends, said: “It has just undergone extensive renovation work to the roof and the chancel, this being phase one of a two-part renovation process.

“The next phase, starting in late 2015, will include the conservation of the remains of the wall paintings, the installation of a toilet and of a water supply.”

The work on phase one was recently finished and a launch day is planned on Saturday, December 6, at 2pm, followed by a carol service at 3pm.

Mulled wine and mince pies will be served and trust members will be there to explain the work.

Mr Gunner added: “The church will still hold six services per year, plus from time to time other religious services and related events.

“In addition, the friends of the church will put on concerts and other fundraising events, but it is not envisaged that there will be any events before early next spring.”

A new guide book is being put together and should be ready by the end of the year, and a safe will be installed soon to accept donations, for the upkeep of the Grade 1 listed building.

Conducted tours of the church, lasting 40 minutes, are also being offered.

The charge is £3 per head, children under 16 free with an adult.

Mr Gunner said: “The tour will include the history of the church, plus the local history of the area, and the church’s place within the landscape.”

Call 07803 596684, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, or email to organise a tour.

People who would like to become a friend and help with looking after the church should also contact Mr Gunner.