Tower future looks secure

IPSWICH: The future of an historic church tower looks secure despite the building being badly damaged in a suspected arson attack.

A blaze ripped through the tower of St Mary at the Elms church in Ipswich town centre at 8.30am last Saturday.

The tower, which is thought to date from Tudor times, suffered “severe” damage during the incident.

However, Ann Peters, the church sacristan, said that the damage is not as bad as was originally feared.

Mrs Peters said: “There is no structural damage for which we are extremely grateful.

“The insurance people don’t think the brickwork has been badly affected which is very good news.

“A lot of the timber beams further up the tower may have to be replaced. The chapel at the bottom which contained a war memorial and our library will have to be ripped out.

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“The bottom of the tower will then be boarded up and eventually the structure will be repaired.”

This week church members began a clean-up of the main building which was badly smoke damaged during the blaze.

It is hoped that the clean-up will be completed by the end of the week by which time services could be re-started in the main building.

Mrs Peters said she was extremely thankful to everyone who helped with the clean-up of the main building.

She said: “The response has been terrific.”