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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Work to restore rare ceiling panels at Cumbrian church completed

The rare and restored beauty of a historic church ceiling is to be officially unveiled to the public at three colourful events.

Brigham church photo
The Rev Sudharshan Savanathan with son Vasanthan and daughter Vinothini

St Bridget’s Church, in Brigham, received nearly £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to repair its 150-year-old ceilings which had deteriorated.

They were created by famed architect William Butterfield and are believed to be among only six surviving examples of his work in the country.

Work began last year on the painted panels in the Grade I-listed church, which were put in danger by a leaking roof, and has now been complete.

Those which suffered the worst damage have been replaced, while others have been restored and cleaned.

Project organiser and Brigham resident, Derek Bainbridge said: “Experts said it was of national interest to preserve them because of their rarity.

“We are thrilled with the results. The professional teams who worked on the project have done an amazing job, and it is fantastic to see the ceilings restored so beautifully.

“It’s been brilliant to see so many parishioners and members of the community participate too. From schoolchildren to those with a passion for art and textiles, it has given great opportunities for people to get involved.”

Fundraising for the restoration project has been going on since the summer of 2012. It began with a sponsored cover-to-cover reading of the King James’ bible – which took four days and raised £10,000. Other initiatives have involved schoolchildren from Brigham and Cockermouth and local quilt-makers who have created a Butterfield-inspired wall hanging.

Three events will mark the unveiling:

On Saturday, May 10 there will be an open day. From 7pm in Christ Church, Cockermouth, historian James Perry will give a talk. Call 01900 823928 for free tickets. And at 9.30am on Sunday, May 11, there will be a rededication service.

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