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75p for a service

02 November 2006

by Margaret Duggan


BROWSING through old records at a car-boot sale, Andrew Hewkin, news reader at BBC Radio Shropshire, came across an acetate disc with a typewritten label which turned out to be a recording of evensong made 40 years ago at St Peter’s, Worfield in Hereford diocese.


 It was in remarkably good condition, he says: a private recording made by a freelance company and, despite a few scratches, “entirely restorable with modern technology”.


A bit of haggling brought its price down to 75p, and a couple of weeks ago it was broadcast for the first time by Radio Shropshire in the station’s regular Sunday-morning slot.


In the 1960s, says the present incumbent of St Peter’s, the Revd George Fleming, St Peter’s had a notable choir, and it was a full evensong, with psalms and entirely clergy-led.


Hearing it again was “a wonderful experience for those who were there 40 years ago and are still around”, he says.


The church, which is in the village of Worfield, and is the only place of worship in its “20 square miles of parish, including 30 hamlets”, still has a good choir of 14 adults, and still uses the Book of Common Prayer for evensong.


He also tells me the Sunday congregation averages 80-90, and that it has just “paid in full” £300,000 to re-order the church.

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