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Methodist Church plans celebration year

PUBLISHED: 14:33 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 14:43 14 July 2010

A CONCERT by soprano Elizabeth Watts kicked off a year of celebrations for Hethersett Methodist Church to mark the 25th anniversary of Operation New Look which transformed the antiquated chapel into today's modern building.

A CONCERT by soprano Elizabeth Watts kicked off a year of celebrations for Hethersett Methodist Church to mark the 25th anniversary of Operation New Look which transformed the antiquated chapel into today's modern building.

It was in 1980 that a major scheme to add length and breadth to the existing church to bring its capacity up to 175 and costing £45,000 found support and later that year the church council approved an even more adventurous scheme with one side of the church being extended into the car park to provide additional cloakroom space and an additional meeting room. A gallery for an organ from the closing Keswick College of Education presented by an anonymous donor saw the cost raise to £70,000.

Work started towards the end of 1982 and on Saturday, March 19th, 1983, a special stone laying ceremony took place. Stones were laid by David Richardson in memory of his parents and by Herbert Thrower and Sian Evans to represent the older and younger members of the congregation.

The formal re-opening and dedication took place on Saturday, October 22, 1983 and was performed by Paul Bartlett Lang, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference. Others taking part were the Chairman of the East Anglian District, the Superintendent of the Norwich Circuit, two members of the congregation and Hethersett's Methodist Minister, the Rev Brian Dann who had been an inspiration throughout the project.

By the time of its completion the cost had risen to £126,000. It took four years to raise the money with grants, loans, events and personal donations all helping to achieve the target.

A number of former ministers will be returning to the village to lead services over the next year with Rev Brian Dann preaching on Sunday, Lynn Cole (widow of the Rev Gerald Cole) leading the Mothering Sunday service on March 22, 2009, the Rev David Hart preaching on April 26, 2009 and the Rev William Booker on June 28, 2009.

More details of the history of Hethersett Methodist Church and Operation New Look events are available on the church's official web site at www.hethersettmethodistchurch.org.uk

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