The clearance at All Saints by the specialists has now been completed and the church has been handed back to us. The pulpit, font and Lefroy memorial have been enclosed in plywood to protect them from winter weather.
The ‘Top Hat’ (temporary roof) will be fitted in the next month or so. This will cut out the light so these sunny views of the church may be the last you will see for a while.
The angel is holding All Saints Church before the extension in the1930s with the cloistered narthex on the west door.
We are now taking orders for Christmas Cards in aid of the All Saints Fund. The three designs are all special in some way to All Saints at Christmas;
The first design has a stained glass window designed by the pre-raphaelite painter Henry Holiday, who often worked for William Burges, the architect of All Saints.
The second features a wintery view of the west of All Saints Church with the rose window.
The third card is of the wooden carving of the Virgin and Child that was in the Lady Chapel at All Saints. Sadly it suffered smoke damage in the fire.
The three different designs are offered, each in packs of 10. The price is £3.50 for 10 (i.e. 35p each). Each card is printed on good card, is blank on the inside for your own greeting and message, comes ready folded to A6 (15 x 10.5 cm) and is supplied with envelope.
Last week a lot of external clearance work was done by the clearance team. Unfortunately, a small number of headstones will need to be temporarily removed in order for the ‘cherry picker’ to get access.
We are currently trying to trace relatives of
Beatrice Gretton (died 1927),
T.P. Packham (1927) and
Norman West (1902 – 1986)
to inform them of this work to be done. If anyone has details of these people, please let the Parish Office know.
Aaron Collins and Toyah Bond had booked their wedding at All Saints Church a year ago. Sadly their plans had to change after the fire and they were married at Christ Church. However the happy couple stopped off at All Saints Church for a photo to keep All Saints Church as part of their special day.
Aaron has a family connection to All Saints Church : His parents Paul and Anne were married at All Saints and Paul is also the gardener at the Church!
This week work began on the clearance of debris from the church. The team from Richford’s will be carrying this out, with support from our architect and conservator. Work to remove asbestos from the boiler room and vestries, and to repair the Choir vestry roof, will also be beginning soon. This will allow the vestry to be used as a storage space for salvaged items, and provide facilities for the clearance team to use. This clearance work will probably take the best part of two months to complete.
Meanwhile, the PCC will be conducting a widespread consultation asking what we want from our church building in the future, as a first step towards making plans for the rebuilding. This will be done by means of a series of open meetings, as well as inviting people to give us their thoughts in person or in writing. Once clearance is completed, the windows and doors of the church will be sealed, scaffolding erected and a temporary roof put on to protect surviving monuments and furnishings, and to make the site secure. Then the work of rebuilding can begin!
Please pray for all those working on site, and for all the professionals working hard on our behalf.
Since the Great Fire of 22nd June it appears that little has changed except the fence and the security guard. Remedial action will soon be apparent so I will explain what has happened so far.
As the fire burned our Bishop and Archdeacon appeared, so right from the start the Diocese were informed and we had the Bishops guiding prayers for the future. The Standing Committee then met soon afterwards and was enlarged by invitation to Richard Buller, Jenny Thorne and Nic Evans and it has met regularly since.
On advice, Nick Doran and myself appointed our Quinquennial Architect Robin Nugent to assist with the initial phase of the work which was to make the site safe and to then to clear the rubble. We have had several discussions with the Ecclesiastical Insurance Company, Crawfords the Loss Adjusters, their Structural Engineer and Richfords their Emergency Contractors who provided the Fence and Security guard.
We have had meetings with Hart District Council and communications with the Diocesan Advisory Committee resulting in the Chancellor of the Diocese giving us permission to proceed with the initial phase of the work.
The PCC has now appointed 3cRisk as Principal Designer and Richfords as Principal Contractor to meet Health and Safety requirements. An Asbestos survey has been carried out and its removal planned.
With regard to the damage caused by the fire we can say nothing remains of the Nave and Aisle roofs or Rose window or contents.
The Organ and much of the Chancel was destroyed though not the three Sanctuary stained glass windows .
The Lefroy Monument, old Reredos, Font and Pulpit were damaged but a major part of the “Holy, Holy, Holy” wall painting across the Chancel Arch has survived. We have appointed Hirst Conservation to advise on these Burges matters.
Next week we should see a crane and other machinery arrive to deal with the high level debris and skips for clearing up etc.
The PCC will then start to discuss the process of consultation with Parishioners, the Town and other interested bodies with regard to the future of the building.
There has been a phenomenal response of community support since the fire that gutted All Saints Church, Fleet on 22nd June. In a little over a month – and in under four weeks since the launch of the All Saints Fund – £10,000 has been raised by the end of July.
Traditionally, on the last Friday afternoon of the school year, the year 6 children from All Saints Junior School would walk to All Saints Church for their leavers’ assembly. But this year, due to the fire that swept through the 153-year-old building, the service was held at the Church on the Heath on the Elvetham Heath estate. There was a presentation of £273.20 to the Vicar of Fleet, the Rev Mark Hayton of money that had been raised from the School’s Summer Fair.
Rev. Roy Woodhams, a former Vicar of Fleet and now Rector of Cranleigh and his daughter Martha had been due to perform in the popular mid-week lunchtime concert at All Saints Church at the start of July. The concert had to be rearranged after the fire and was held at St Nicolas, Cranleigh on 5 July. The audience of more than 150 people responded generously, adding more than £2,000 to the church appeal.
Amongst the other donations to the fund were Alison and Becky who raised £80 with a bake sale and the staff from NatWest Fleet branch have collected £715 pounds from customers.
The building works and re-roofing costs of All Saints church will be met by the insurance company. However, there will be many other costs involved before the church can become a fully operational part of the community in Fleet again. When launching the All Saints Fund, Rev. Mark Hayton said “The PCC and community of All Saints have been heartened by the support we have received from the community of Fleet following the fire. We are hugely grateful for all the offers of help and support, both financial and otherwise.”
A new website has been launched – http://ariseallsaints.uk/ – dedicated to the efforts to restore the church to its place at the centre of the community in Fleet. This will be providing regular updates on the progress being made, as well as details of fundraising events. The site has already received over one hundred offers of help and can now receive donations by secure online payment, as well as cheque and cash donations.