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‘At risk’ church is on a mission

St Mary Magdalene, which was put on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register last year, will become a ‘community hub’ following transformation

02 December, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Pupils present the time capsule with Father Henry Everett

A BISHOP headed a “ground-breaking” celebration at a historic Grade I-listed church that’s being transformed following a 10-year fundraising campaign.

Acting Bishop of London Pete Broadbent spoke about the social mission of St Mary Magdalene Church in Paddington.

The church, which was put on Historic England’s “at risk” register last year, will be refurbished for a new annex and a “community hub”.

Bishop Pete Broadbent at the ground-breaking ceremony

Rt Rev Broadbent said: “I was delighted to take part in St Mary Magdalene Church’s ground-breaking celebration which not only marks the end of 10 years of preparation, but also the beginning of the next chapter in the long life of this historic church in the heart of central London.”

Children St Mary Magdalene Primary School presented a time capsule containing items chosen from each class at the school, such as poems, predictions, and facts about their lives in 2017, which was buried in the new annex grounds.

New facilities will feature a learning space, and a café opening onto the Grand Union Canal, a cultural venue with a rich and varied programme of events and a space that can be hired for use. These and the church itself will also provide learning and training programme environment.

The project was awarded a National Lottery grant of £3.6million by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in 2016 and construction is expected to take a year.

Fr Henry Everett, vicar of St Mary Magdalene Church said: “The great joy of having a church completely full of scaffolding is that every time I go in I see something beautiful or extraordinary that I’ve never seen before. It is so exciting to be starting the conservation work which will reveal the true beauty of St Mary Magdalene’s, and the new building, which will enable us to do so much more in our service to the local community.”

Neil Johnston, chief executive of Paddington Development Trust said: “This is a very special building that both local people and London artists and creators will make their own.”

For more information, or to donate, visit the project website: marymags.org.uk/

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