On Sunday 10th September, St Andrew’s reopened its doors to a large congregation of nearly 100 people. They were all there to celebrate the completion of the church’s major roof restoration which had been going on since the beginning of the year. It had taken 10 years of planning and fundraising for the Roof Repair Fund to get to this stage. A Roof Repair Sub-Committee had also been set up the year before to oversee the details of grants, church faculty, architects, scaffolders and builders on a day to day basis.
Hambleton Parochial Church Council invited not only Hambleton residents, but all those who had been involved in the Roof Repair project to Raise the Roof with a Songs of Praise Service. The service also marked the completion of a 20 year project to restore all of the four Victorian altar frontals.
Ruth Chamberlain from Preston had overseen their restoration and her work was greatly admired by all present. Ruth had trained and worked at the Sisters of Bethany workshop from 1950 to 1960. This is also where the altar frontals were made in about 1895 and they had been commissioned by St Andrew’s great patron; Walter Gore Marshall. His sister was a nun with the Sisters of Bethany and she died in Persia (Iran) in 1894. Coincidentally Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani’s wife Guli comes from that region of Iran where her father was Bishop.
Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani took the service along with Reverend Charlotte Osborn who had planned an excellent Songs of Praise with many favourite Hymns. Young singer Katie Marshall who came 3rd in a National competition, sang two solos; Ave Maria and Art thou troubled, music will calm thee. Katie was accompanied by Kevin Slingsby on the organ. Araminta Mathias and her team of bell ringers woke the Village ahead of the Service and the Team Choir lifted the singing to new heights.
In dedication of a symbolic roof, water was sprinkled from a spray of rosemary and unexpectedly, Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani climbed on to the roof to bless it and then went on to bless the restored Victorian altar frontals. The service was followed by wine and canapes.
Included in the congregation was the Lord Lieutenant and six members of Rutland Historic Churches Preservation Trust. This was the first time they had attended an ‘End of Project Celebration Service’ and they were very impressed with the care we take of our church. We had received a grant of £10,000 from them for the Roof.
Along with all the other parishes, Hambleton joined in with the RHCPT Ride & Stride on Saturday 9th September and we were delighted that our valiant cyclists raised over £1,000 for the Trust. Our village team, which was led by Richard Foulkes, covered many miles despite the unpleasant weather.
Hambleton’s Harvest Thanksgiving and Supper which will also include an Auction, takes place on Sunday 8th October at 5pm.