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New extension a boost for Holt church

PUBLISHED: 14:26 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 08:57 13 July 2010

It has been a place of worship and prayer for nearly 1,000 years and now church officials are hoping a new extension can help a north Norfolk church continue to serve its community well into the next century.

It has been a place of worship and prayer for nearly 1,000 years and now church officials are hoping a new extension can help a north Norfolk church continue to serve its community well into the next century.

The parish church of St Andrew the Apostle in Holt is relatively small in size but has a large and loyal congregation.

With a capacity of about 250 people it is often packed out on certain occasions such and civic events and funerals.

For more than 20 years church leaders have investigating ways to create more space by building and extension onto the building.

Now, through the sale of a bungalow the church owns in the market town which will provide a large portion of the money needed, St Andrew's vicar, Rev Howard Stoker, is hopeful the project can move forward quickly.

He said: “The need for extra space has been identified for over 20 years but various schemes have not become a reality.

“There is now a good team in place and a desire to make this happen.

“Holt is growing as a town and on a regular Sunday we rarely get less than 120 people.”

Rev Stoker stressed that plans are in the very early stages and all interested parties were currently being consulted.

But he said the idea was to link the extension to the church through a glass corridor attached to the north door, which had not been used for many years.

The new building would provide space for children's workshops, the growing choir, meetings, a kitchen and proper facilities for the disabled.

He continued: “Holt is a growing town and it never enjoyed wealth in medieval times so the church is relatively modest in its proportions.

“The congregation is growing and vibrant and this would make the church more suitable for 21st century use.”

To enable the build some headstones will have to be removed from the graveyard but it is thought all of these are more than 100 years old, with the majority being more than 150 years old. Relatives will be traced and contacted where possible.

Rev Stoker added that if all went well he hoped building could take place next year.

It is thought that the original church was built on the St Andrew's site in the 11th century but nothing of this original building survives. The current church dates back to the 1300s.

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