Damage limitation

02 November 2006

MEDIEVAL St Peters in the middle of Wolverhampton (<> diocese) does get rough-sleepers bedding down in the porchsays the Rector, the Revd David Frith. Occasionally, there are also signs ofire, where they have been using drugs. But it was quite different when, earlone morning, a fire of smouldering cardboard boxes had been deliberatelstarted against the door (right). A few buckets of water put it out; otherwiseanother hour or so, and the huge wooden memorial just inside could have takethe fire to the roof.

The planned new iron and glass entrance, both more welcominand more secure, would have prevented that damage, and the local council icontributing generously towards it. But the congregation has a campaign traise 1 million to build a learning centre on the north side of the churc(there is no church hall or ancillary building), and to refurbish the historiorgan.

The church has a strong musical tradition. Under thdirector of music, Peter Morris, there is a choir of 24 boys and six laclerks. But the lay clerks are supplemented by choral scholars. "We dont sagoodbye to boys when their voices break," Mr Frith told me. "We keep them onand nurture their adult voices."

There is also a 30-strong girls choir, who mostly sinseparately, but sometimes together with the boys. "We have quite a youtproject going with the music," says Mr Frith. And the new learning centre is tcater for the many schools that visit.


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