A newly renovated and extended premises for St James Church, Eastbury

Churchwarden, architects and builders with the Rt Rev Archbishop George CareyA cherished church in Eastbury is celebrating the official opening of its newly renovated and extended premises which was in part helped by a generous grant from Greenham Common Trust.

The Trust provided £50,000 from its Community Building Improvement Pro-ject on a matched funding basis.

Eastbury is a small village in the Lambourn valley and St James Church was built in 1851 and has been at the heart of the village ever since. The support and use of the church is widespread and it is a vital building for villagers in Eastbury, Lambourn and East Garston.

But it desperately needed modernising, and the project began in earnest a few years ago, when plans were drawn up, permissions sought, and builders found to help upgrade the facilities to provide the right, welcoming environ-ment for groups to meet.

Paul Reynolds, one of the churchwardens, said: "The Greenham Common Trust was a major catalyst in the fundraising process. It was their willingness to offer £50,000 as a match funding grant that endorsed the improvements to St James Church as a worthwhile community project.”

“This gave huge encouragement to potential supporters ranging from major benefactors and charitable trusts to local people to give as much as they could.”

The total sum raised was £131,000 and the church now has a modern heat-ing system, a water supply, WC facilities and an oak kitchen area.  “We could not be more grateful for all the help we have received.”

The building work is now finished and parishioners and members of the com-munity welcomed the Rt Rev. Archbishop George Carey at the official open-ing on Sunday, 29 November.

Glenn Clarkson, chairman of Greenham Common Trust’s distribution commit-tee said : “Community resources like St James Church are not just consid-ered a place of worship but also, to many, a second home. A place where they can meet neighbours, congregate, and take part in numerous activities. “Wherever possible, people should step in to lend support to keep them vi-brant for generations to come, and we were delighted to be able to help a cause that will benefit hundreds of people.”

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