A BISHOP Monkton church has celebrated reaching a key target in its Development Project.
The first sod was cut at St John Baptist Church by sidesman Tommy Kirby to signal the start of building.
Watched by a large group of parishioners, Tommy used his own spade bedecked with a green ribbon to lift a small square of turf on the spot where the new external extension will be built.
Jennifer Barker, Churchwarden and founder member of the development team, said that the development fund had now topped £70,000, leaving just another £20,000 to be raised to reach the target to complete the project. The money raised so far meant that a start could be made on Phase 1 of the external work. This would involve installation of a water supply and sewers and completing the foundations for further external work.
Phase 2 would see the construction of an external porch housing disabled toilet facilities and the breaking through of the church wall to build a new door and Phase 3 would involve building a concealed kitchen and an external ramp.
She welcomed Gary Payne of G.P.M (Ripon) Ltd who has been appointed principal contractor for the project and thanked the development team and in particular PCC Chairman Alan Ebbutt who had taken charge of applications for funds.
The largest vote of thanks went to the whole community which she said had given such wonderful support during two long years of fund raising.
Vicar, The Rev Christopher Cornwell, said reaching this stage was a “wonderful moment”. He thanked everyone who had contributed and said he was confident the remaining funds would soon be forthcoming so the work could be carried through to its conclusion.
After the ceremony, everyone moved indoors to enjoy coffee and home made cakes.