Bishop of Ely to make first cut in turf at site of new home for Benwick Church

THE Bishop of Ely will make the first cut in the turf at the site of a long-awaited new home for Benwick Church on Saturday.

The Rt Rev Stephen Conway will attend the ceremony which culminates in years of planning and fundraising by the Friends of Benwick Church.

The group have raised more than �100,000 towards the final cost of developing the existing village hall - where services have been held since the church was demolished in 1985.

Bishop Conway said: “Benwick is an example of a community dedicated to ensuring that there is space set aside within the community for prayer and worship which reflects the unique character of those who live there.

“It is an enormous privilege to be sharing in this weekend’s celebrations.”

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At its peak, Benwick boasted a church and two chapels but all of these have been lost over time.

The church, built in 1854, began to tilt and in 1966 the tower was removed. The clock was then removed and loaned to March Museum.

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The last service was held in the building, which became condemned, in 1980.

John Hoffman, friends’ chairman, said: “We used the �100,000 we raised to match Fenland District Council’s funding and we now hope to have a new home for Benwick Church within the village hall.”

The cash will be used for a number of improvements within the building and also to build the extension which will become a community facilities as well as the church’s new home.

The ceremony in the village’s High Street begins at 10am with coffee being served before the turf is cut at around 11am.

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