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Famous face to launch Suffolk appeal

PUBLISHED: 22:08 28 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 March 2010

FORMER war correspondent and MP Martin Bell will next week help an east Suffolk church launch a £275,000 appeal for vital repairs.

Mr Bell, famous for his white suit, will be the guest as the ambitious appeal takes off at St Bartholomew's Church in Orford.

FORMER war correspondent and MP Martin Bell will next week help an east Suffolk church launch a £275,000 appeal for vital repairs.

Mr Bell, famous for his white suit, will be the guest as the ambitious appeal takes off at St Bartholomew's Church in Orford.

The Reverend Canon Robert Clifton said the money was needed for a range of work at the building – including a new heating system, disabled access, stonework repairs, and internal repairs and redecoration.

It is hoped the money will be raised by a variety of methods – including a series of fundraising events.

The first of these will take place on Bank Holiday Monday May 5 when a May Fair will be held in and around the church from 10.30am to 4.30pm.

There will be refreshments including lunches on sale all day and many stalls, including bric a brac, books, cakes, produce, nearly new, raffles, children's activities, and an exhibition of photographs of Orford taken around 1900 together with some of the same scenes photographed in 2002.

Mr Bell, who worked as a war correspondent for the BBC, will be attending the event at 11.30am to launch the appeal.

Orford Church's origins go back to Norman times and today's building is really the nave of a much older church – the surviving pillars and arches of which can still be seen in the grounds.

Its flint-dashed tower was built in 1972 to replace one which crumbled and collapsed in the early 19th century.

The church was the favourite of composer Benjamin Britten, and his church parables were first performed in it, including the famous Noyes Fludde, a memorial sculpture to which stands near the south door.

There is a memorial to Britten in the floor at the at the west end of the church, though he is buried in his beloved Aldeburgh.

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