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30th Jun, 2022

It's like a stained glass window: Church celebrates 850th birthday

THIS year was to be a very special one for the church of Saint Nicholas in Henley in Arden – parishioners had planned two weeks of celebration to mark its 850th anniversary.

The church stands at the foot of the town’s historic Mount and attracts visitors from far and near intrigued by its Norman architecture and the sense of history that still prevails as you walk through the doors.

Just as plans were being finalised Covid struck and all celebrations were cancelled, but one project survived.

This project is the brainchild of of local resident, jazz musician and church choir member Annie Davies who has overseen the production of a wall hanging and commemorative book, both of which will be housed permanently in the church, and includes contributions from local residents and organisations.

“When I thought of this idea I wanted something that truly reflected the town and the organisations in in 2020,” she said.

“The wall hanging is made up of 48 individual squares produced in a variety of finishes, embroidery, knitted and painted which is the beauty of it.”

Contributions were received from schools, churches, businesses and many other groups.

The finished work will be topped with a painting of the church by local artist Garry Nicklin, and the hanging will sit in a metal frame created by Malcolm Wright, to emulate a stained glass window.

The commemorative book will contain facsimile illustrations of each square with details of the activities and history of each organisation represented.

When Covid struck the book’s contents took on a new dimension as residents recorded their own personal experiences of lockdown.

The result is a poignant and emotional record of what life was like in Henley during one of the most distressing times for the nation.

The hanging and commemorative book will be dedicated at a special ceremony, conducted by the Revd John Ganjavi in St Nicholas Church this Saturday, October 10.

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