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Villagers rally to save their old church for the future

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There has been a church in one form or another on the site at Hinton since the 12th century
There has been a church in one form or another on the site at Hinton since the 12th century

A CHURCH which members of the congregation feared would not survive the 21st century is being rescued by an initiative to make it the focal point of the community once again.

There has been a church at Hinton, near Christchurch, since the 12th century but the present one, St Michael and All Angels, had started to suffer from its age.

Three years ago a few of the congregation got together and discussed ways of ensuring the church, situated beside the A35, survived for future worshipers.

Their aim was to “support the financial and structural integrity of St Michael’s” while also raising its profile in the village and further afield.

They set up a group called Hinton 21 and members receive a welcome pack, a copy of the church's history, regular newsletters and free attendance at social and fundraising events.

Former churchwarden of St Michael’s, Phillip Messenger, said: “Since its launch in the latter part of 2017 membership continues to rise and the initiative is now enabling the parochial church council to undertake projects which would otherwise have been unaffordable.

“The avenue of lime trees have been thoroughly renovated and floodlighting of the church path and entrance has been provided. Plans are afoot to refurbish the oak lychgate, and renovate crumbling stonework around the West Door.

“All of these are visible signs of the continuing health of Saint Michael's and of a commitment from those, perhaps outside the worshipping community, to maintain an important part of local history, culture and spiritual presence.”

Events have included a “pedals, pipes and Prosecco” day which featured an organ concert, and this year there is a concert with the Military Wives Choir and a special lunch featuring rationing restrictions of the Second World War.

Through money raised so far, the old oak gate has been freed from the overgrowth of shrubs and bushes, and there are plans to give it an overhaul.

It has also provided floodlighting for the church entrance, while the lime trees adorning the church path have been pruned so those passing St Michael’s can see it in all its glory.

Hinton 21 events are advertised on the notice board outside the church. For details of how to become a member, email benefice.messinger@hotmail.co.uk.

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