DROITWICH’S St Andrew’s Church has won its race against time to reopen its doors in time for Sunday’s Remembrance commemorations.
The building was forced to close on September 16 after a small section of the ceiling collapsed, caused by the traditional lime plaster deteriorating over a long period of time.
Work began on October 29 to put up scaffolding and netting which will fully protect the public from any risk of falling plaster and enable the building to reopen.
It will take a significant amount of time to carry out the long-term repairs and fund-raising has started to pay for the work which needs to be done.
An expert assessment revealed that the whole ceiling is in need of repair. Several areas of cracked and loose plaster will need to be repaired, using traditional methods.
The ceiling was made using traditional building techniques and the repairs will see the lime plaster strengthened with animal hair.
St Andrew’s is a Grade I listed building and the repairs must be done with the consent of experts from the Church of England (Worcester Diocese), English Heritage and other stakeholders.
The church is an important Droitwich landmark, which has been in the heart of the community for many centuries.
The current building has links with the Roman, Saxon and medieval town, and is at least 700 years old.
It was almost destroyed by fire in 1290.
St Andrew’s remains in daily use and is used extensively by the local community.
The churches’ trustees are developing a wider project that will include the repairs to St Andrew’s roof and ceiling and there are other improvements planned in a bid to transform the church into a community hub.
Improvements to the seating, kitchen and other facilities will provide a ‘space’ for gatherings, traditional and contemporary worship, specific interest and pastoral groups, concerts and events, exhibitions, children and youth work, educational purposes and a wide range of other uses.
The plan, called ‘Building for the Community’ will be published in February 2019.
Revd Nigel Byard, Team Rector in Droitwich said “St Andrew’s is an important building which has been a community hub for hundreds of years.
“We are very excited by these plans to both maintain it as a historical asset and to open the building up as a community hub in new ways”