Ipswich: Worship goes on at church ravaged by arson attack

IPSWICH: Services are continuing at St Mary at the Elms church – despite the scaffolding completely filling its interior space.

The historic church was devastated by a fire at the base of its bell tower on July 25, last year.

The last months have been trying times for the congregation of St Mary’s, but daily mass continues despite the damage.

“We’ve had a year of worshipping in a church with fire damage,” said Father Stephen Raines, the priest in charge.

“It’s a cramped space we’re adapting to.

“People seem to be very patient and understanding.”

Restoration work finally commenced on May 3.

Most Read

The scaffold has been put in place to aid replacement of 18th century plaster and wooden beams in the church roof.

St Mary’s clock, the oldest working timepiece in Ipswich, was also damaged in the incident, as was the Acton monument, a piece of stone carving dating back to the time of the Tudors, which is installed in the church’s wall.

Expert repairs to both are planned, and a new war memorial is to be built to replace the First World War original, completely destroyed in the blaze.

Around �60,000 has already been released by the church’s insurers to pay for repairs, with total costs expected to run to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

n Which is your favourite Suffolk church? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk