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After much planning and years of fund raising, the third phase of the church renovations began in September 2010 under the direction of the Parish Team and Finance Council and the then Parish Priest, Fr. Dermot.
Since September 2010 all the stone work has been cleaned. The removal of over 130 years of soot and grime has revealed beautiful colours and the many delicate finishes and features can be seen to advantage.
The church has been completely repainted in its original colours and has been rewired and relit with a modern lighting system. The baptistery marble has been repaired and replaced where necessary.
During the summer of 2011, the pews were cleaned and repaired, the sacristy and vestry repainted and a new heating boiler installed. Not long after, a new sound system was installed.
In 2012, new marble floor tiles were laid in the altar area and new carpets were laid in the rest of the church. Refurbishment of the Stations of the Cross and restoration of art works have begun and are in progress.
The objective of the Parish Team is to make the church a safe and comfortable place with an environment that encourages prayer and reverence.
PHASE I: COLONNADE RENOVATION
Cost of work: £150,000
The first phase of the church renovation programme was completed in summer 2007 with the repair and development of the Colonnade.
This involved the provision of a completely new roof over the lobby inside the front doors. This roof has six skylights which have dramatically brightened this previously poorly-lit area.
The colonnade was rewired and all-new lighting installed.
The repository was moved from the top of the colonnade where it was restricting exits from the church, and a new repository and tea serving facility were constructed in a more suitable area.
The provision of chairs and tables have made the colonnade a very comfortable and welcoming area where parishioners can meet and greet and get to know each other.
All the windows were removed, repaired and reinstated.
The colonnade improvements have been very well received by parishioners and visitors alike.
PHASE II: NEW TOILET FACILITIES AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE EAST CORRIDOR
Cost of work: £60,000
The second phase of our church restoration programme was to upgrade the toilet facilities and develop part of the East Corridor as a parish facility. This work has now been completed.
This was quite intricate work involving demolition, excavation of drains, plumbing and re-wiring in a very confined space. We are very pleased with the outcome which will be particularly appreciated when there are special events in the church such as choral concerts involving large attendances.
The existing toilet and storage area were demolished. Where there was previously a single toilet there is now a fully equipped disabled facility. In addition there are two standard toilets. All three units are equipped with wash basins and water heaters. There are also two baby-changing units.
A new cleaning bay has been installed complete with sink, broom cupboard and storage for cleaning materials. Other storage facilities have been created by maximising the use of available space.
The section of the East corridor leading to the sacristy has been re-plastered, damp-proofed, insulated and storage heating installed. Shelving has been fitted and the floor has been carpeted. This area will be used as a parish library and also as a play for small children. New doors were fitted in the corridor to section off this area.
PHASE III: CHURCH INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR
Cost of work: £400,000+
The third phase of our church restoration programme was to clean and paint the interior of the church, clean the stone work and also put in new lighting, heating and sound system and other necessary work. Much of this work has been completed but is still ongoing.
The programme of works in 2010 for this phase was as follows:
This phase was the major part of the church restoration and began in 2010. For five months in 2010, there was scaffolding inside the church and while renovation works were in progress, week day masses were held in the Founders Room. A tremendous thanks is due to the many volunteers who cleaned the church every Friday during the so that Mass could be celebrated on Sundays.
Since 2011 the programme of restoration works has progressed on to include the renovation of the pews, new carpeting, the decoration of the sacristy and east corridor, refurbishment of the Stations of the Cross and restoration of art works.
At a later stage it is hoped to return the Lady Chapel to its original condition by removing all the paint from the stonework. This will be a very expensive task and may not be possible for some years.
The parish team and finance council gratefully acknowledge the support and generosity of so many people who have made this renovation programme possible.
Renovated Pieta and Arches
Pictures of Renovation Work in Progress
HOW YOU CAN HELP
As a parish community we are deeply grateful to everyone who contributes to the Restoration Trust, whether in the regular church collections or by donation. We wish to remind all taxpayers of the importance of Gift Aid which increases your contribution by 25% at no cost to your self.