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Fleet church rebuild.jpg
Parish of Fleet
Fleet church rebuild.jpg
Parish of Fleet
UK News

Church destroyed by arson attack reconsecrated by bishop eight years on

by Sophie Drew

A church that was almost destroyed by fire has been reconsecrated eight years after the arson attack.

In 2015, fire fighters battled a blaze at the Grade-II listed All Saints Church in Fleet, Hampshire, for three hours.

The fire resulted in an estimated £4.5 million worth of damage.

The work to rebuild was tireless; the pulpit had to be totally dismantled and the paintings had to be carefully restored with a steady hand.

Now, almost eight years on, the church has been consecrated once more by the Bishop of Guildford, Rt Rev Andrew Watson.

A sea of colour, the once ashen building is now bright and vibrant, thanks to those who spent almost a decade committed to its reopening.

The firefighters who wrestled the blaze were invited to the reconsecration.

The fire was the result of an arson attack committed by then-17-year-old Daniel Finnerty, from Fleet.

The church was able to reopen its doors on the 21st of March , and has now resumed its regular services, but continues with the next phase of the restoration, which will see construction of the annexe.

In celebration of the reopening, the church plans to host an “informal celebration of new life” in May.

In a letter to the parish, the church said: “This has been an extraordinary year for us in the Fleet Parish, a momentous and exciting one during which we have seen not only the reopening of our beloved All Saints Church, but also growth in our congregations, big changes in our worship programme, and a number of new projects coming to fruition.

“Quite simply God has been at work among us, doing wonderful and surprising things. He has brought us many delights and blessings, along with a few challenges, but overall, this has been a year of great blessing for which we offer our thanks and praise.”

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