Category Archives: All Saints News

Clearance begins – update 23 August

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.

A lift platform has arrived on site
A lift platform has arrived on site

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.

All Saints Church – Update 17 August

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.

Richard Buller
Richard Buller

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.

The Churchwardens - or Bob the Builder?
The Churchwardens – or Bob the Builder?

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.

South Aisle facing east
South Aisle facing east – toward the site of the Organ

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 .

Pulpit Chancel
Pulpit, Chancel, and Sanctuary Stained Glass Window

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.

Andrew Moyse, Churchwarden

All Saints Fund reaches £10,000 in four weeks

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.

All Saints Junior School pupils Phillippa and Tobias present a cheque to Rev Mark Hayton. Picture by Captured Moment
All Saints Junior School pupils Phillippa and Tobias present a cheque to Rev Mark Hayton. Picture by Captured Moment

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.

Alison and Becky raised £80 with a bake sale
Alison and Becky raised £80 with a bake sale

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.

Staff from Natwest Fleet Branch who have collected £715 from customers
Staff from Natwest Fleet Branch who have collected £715 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 – – 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.

All Saints School raises funds

All Saints School have raised £270 for the All Saints Fund:

All Saints Junior School pupils Phillippa and Tobias present the cheque to Rev Mark Hayton. Picture by Captured Moment

All Saints Church- Update 5 July

Our immediate priority, once the church site had been handed back to us by the police and fire authorities, was to ensure public safety. Because the building is currently in a dangerous state our insurers quickly arranged for high fencing and a 24hr guard to be put in place.

The next priority has been to make the building secure and safe, and to remove the debris. To this end, on Tuesday this week, 30 June, our churchwardens had a lengthy meeting on site with our insurers, loss adjusters, a structural engineer and our Inspecting Architect plus conservator. Our architect has been appointed to oversee the clearance process working with a specialist site clearance company recommended by our insurers. His job is to ensure that the work is carried out expeditiously, but with due regard to protecting and saving any materials which may be required for any future restoration. Once detailed Method Statements have been prepared we will be seeking an open Faculty from the Diocese of Guildford to allow the clearance process to start.

The initial report from the structural engineer indicates that the main brick structures are sound, but some work may be needed to protect them from further damage. The clearance work will start with the high level structure – removing unstable roof beams and tiles for example. Once this is done it will be safe for a team to move in and start work on the debris at ground level. Clearly we all want this to happen as quickly as possible, but this is difficult and specialised work and we need to ensure both the safety of those involved and that due care is taken not to damage the structure further or to lose any fragments which can be salvaged.

As part of the meeting on Tuesday we were able to gain brief access to the interior of the church and have taken a number of photographs which can be viewed below.

At this time we are a long way from making any decisions about how best to restore the building. We recognise that there are already many different opinions on this subject and it is our intention to conduct a timely but wide consultation process involving both our Church family and the broader community of Fleet, so that everyone has an opportunity to express their views. Meanwhile we remain immensely grateful for all the love and support we have received from so many people at this difficult time.