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23rd Sep, 2021

Droitwich's historic St Andrews Church forced to close after ceiling collapse

DROITWICH’S historic St Andrews Church has had to close its doors after a section of the ceiling collapsed last Sunday.

Luckily the 3.5ft by 3.5ft section, made of lime plaster, fell in the evening when no-one was in the building.

Rev Nigel Byard said hopefully safety netting would be put up in the next couple of weeks so the doors could be re-opened and then that can stay in place for up to 15 months to allow the work to be carried out.

“It is an old building which needs constant love and care.

“The ceiling is probably about 60 or 70 years old and there had been cracks in it for a while.

“Because it’s an old building, it moves around a lot with the changes in temperature and the wind blowing through and that is what has caused it.”

Because it is a Grade I listed building, there is a long process to go through to get the work done.

Discussions have been taking place with lime plaster specialist companies, including the one which carried out the work on the historic buildings in Droitwich High Street.

The work is expected to cost a few thousand pounds.

Other improvements are planned for the church in the next year, including better disabled access, revamped toilets and CCTV cameras so it can be open for longer.

The church will be searching for external funding to get that work done.

“Back in the 15th and 16th Centuries it would have had bustling markets outside the doors and we want to recapture some of that atmosphere.

“The church has an excellent heating system and is well placed in the centre of town.

“We want to open the church up to the whole community and have more events and activities here.”

While St Andrews Church is closed, the regular church activities will be held in the Parish Centre nextdoor which has been unaffected by the collapse.

The only change will be the Droitwich Lions’ booksales which the group’s members are looking at holding at Droitwich Baptist Church.

It has not been a good year for St Andrews Church.

Historic silverware worth £56,000 was taken from the building on June 26.

Paul Sheward, who admitted taking the haul, is due to be sentenced at Worcester Crown Court tomorrow. The police say they are still hopeful of finding the stolen items.

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