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Derby church devastated by fire

by Kelly Valencia

A 700-year-old church has been destroyed by a huge fire in Mackworth, Derbyshire. 

All Saints' Church has a congregation of 30 people and was due to resume in-person services on 6th December with new coronavirus rules having come into place in England.

Church warden, Betty Bond told Premier she feels "tired, upset, devastated" as the church "is just a skeleton now".

"Personally, it was my second home. I have been in the church choir since the age of eight. I was at Sunday school. I taught Sunday school there. My mother and father were married there."

Firefighters were called to the scene on Thursday afternoon and worked through the night. The blaze has caused significant structural damage. 

Six fire engines, two aerial ladder platforms and a water carrier were sent to the scene by Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS).

Speaking to Premier, Ms Bond said the congregation is still in shock.

"Everybody is...well, they just can't believe it," she said. "People from the congregation came and said 'I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do'. And well, [there is] nothing at the moment they can physically do, but we need to pray, and we will come through" she continued. 

All Saints' Church is part of a benefice formed with other two parishes. This means the All Saints' congregation will be able to join the in-person services of the other parishes. 

Given that there has been a church in the same location for over a millennium, Ms Bond believes that the church will be rebuilt. 

"There's been a church since the Doomsday book, it's 1,000 years on that site. So, the plans in people's minds are 'we will rebuild'. We will rebuild to take in the needs of the 21st century."

Ms Bond wants to encourage Christians to pray for their congregation at this time. 

"We need your prayers so desperately because the congregation is a mixed congregation, we are probably more elderly and we're all very devastated, just can't take it in. The congregation of All Saints' Mackworth need your prayers. And with that, we will feel much more uplifted."

A joint investigation has been launched with Derbyshire police.


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