Ready to celebrate 20 years of St Richard’s the third

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Wander round Crawley and you will come across churches of all shapes, sizes and ages.

From St John’s, St Margaret’s and St Richard’s, whose stone walls have watched the town grow, to St Paul’s and St Mary’s, which are more modern but give off a welcoming air to anyone who ventures inside.

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One church in particular - St Richard’s, in Three Bridges - has had a colourful history, undergoing three rebuilds, one of which was labelled ‘the power station’ by its less-than-impressed parishioners.

The church was one of dozens across the country which fell to the bulldozers in the early 1990s.

A report from the Church of England’s Council for the Care of Churches had stated some of the modern buildings were aging more rapidly than their more ancient counterparts.

One of those was St Richard’s. In 1987, architects had discovered structural deterioration in the walls and the roof and estimated the cost of repairs to be £60,000.

Rather than throwing money at a problem which would not go away, St Richard’s, which had been built in 1953, was pulled down and its site sold for housing.

The current church - St Richard’s Mk III - cost £160,000 and was built on an adjacent site which was blessed, on a particularly rainy day, by Crawley Rector Father Keith Richard.

He was joined by choir master Reg Holman while church warden Mike Tyrrell held an umbrella to keep him dry and Steve Merriman acted as server.

It has been 20 years since St Richard’s welcomed worshippers into its new home, and plans are afoot to celebrate the milestone.

Anyone who would like to help celebrate the 20th anniversary should put Saturday,June 6 in their diary.

There will be a celebration, involving drinks, cakes and lots of shared memories at the church in Crossways from 3pm-5pm.

Some of the churchgoers have been collecting 20p pieces and, on the day, hope to surround the church with a long line of coins. Any contributions to the line would be welcomed.