Parish church celebrates 50th anniversary

Retired Clergy Worth Their Weight in Gold, created by Deacon Jo Gavigan
Retired Clergy Worth Their Weight in Gold, created by Deacon Jo Gavigan

People in Maybridge are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the parish church this weekend.

Built for the post-war council housing estate, St Richard’s Church, in Collingwood Road, was dedicated on October 8, 1966.

The community bricklaying ceremony for the church hall on October 10, 1953

The community bricklaying ceremony for the church hall on October 10, 1953

It was the first permanent church for Maybridge, although services had been held in the church hall since it was built in 1954.

A three-day flower festival opened at lunchtime today. The church will be open all day tomorrow and until 3pm on Sunday.

Tomorrow will be the biggest day of celebration, with a craft fair in the church hall and fun day in the grounds.

Arrangements on display include Retired Clergy Worth Their Weight in Gold, created by Deacon Jo Gavigan, who retired 18 months ago after 11 years in charge at the church.

Young children involved with the church and groups that meet at the church have also made displays, including an arrangement in a boot by the 2nd Goring (St Richards) Scout Group, an arrangement made with paper and Hama beads by 3rd Goring (St Richard’s) Brownies, forget-me-nots with hand-written flags of memories displayed in a wellie by 3rd Goring (St Richard’s) Guides and craft daffodils made by St Richard’s Toddler Group.

Also on display are photographs and historical memorabilia.

The church began as a daughter church for St Mary’s in Goring, to serve the rapidly-growing population north of the railway line.

People living on the estate were encouraged to contribute to the building of the church hall through a Brick Stamp Scheme and a community bricklaying ceremony was held on October 10, 1953, to start the building of the hall.

It was officially opened on April 3, 1954, on the 701st anniversary of the death of St Richard.

Building of the main church, designed by English architect Romilly Craze, began next to the hall on January 22, 1966. The current parish was set up as a Conventional District on December 9, 1979, and the parish of Maybridge was created on December 1, 1982. St Richard’s Church was then consecrated on January 22, 1983.

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