Bob Politt, Rector at St Leonard’s Church, Sherfield on Loddon, who retired after 15 years with the parish, cut the first turf ahead of work to dig the foundations of a new building development at St Leonard’s Church at his farewell service.
The development, which contractors are expected to begin in the next couple of weeks, will provide the church with additional space and new facilities needed for the growing congregation. The start of building work marks the end of twelve years of fundraising, which has been largely undertaken by members of the congregation.
The new development will provide the church with a new kitchen area, toilet facilities and an open space that will be used for children’s ministry, such as Sunday School.
Fundraising activities included a Christmas tree festival and an arts and crafts festival. Bob himself made a significant contribution by raising £7000 earlier this year on a fundraising cycle ride along the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain in northwest Spain.
A celebration service was attended by 200 well-wishes from the local community and was followed by Bob commencing the building work.
The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, is set to open the extension when it is fully completed in July 2014 at a special service.
Following the farewell service, Rector Bob Politt said:
“I am proud to have been part of a growing and welcoming community here at St Leonard’s. After nearly 40 years in ordained ministry it‘s been great to see more and more people worshipping together in this fantastic building. This new development marks an exciting new chapter for the church and I wish the Parish the best for the future.”
“It has been a fantastic achievement by all those involved in making this new development that will serve the church for generations to come happen.
“We have drawn from all the talents of the congregation in the fundraising activities to reach our total and have some fantastic memories to look back.”