One year on

02 November 2006

IT IS just a year since the Boscastle flood, when eight inches of rain swept down to inundate the village, flattening shops and houses, sweeping cars out to sea. A hundred people had to be air-lifted to safety by helicopters, though - miraculously, it seemed - no lives were lost.

Minster Church on the hillside, one of the Revd Christine Musser's ( pictured) six parish churches in Truro diocese, was up to six feet deep in muddy water at one point, and fabric, furniture, and fittings all seemed ruined. Twelve months on, and 160 people packed into the church for a service have given thanks for its restoration.

This was a task, said Mrs Musser, that had already begun when she went to the church the morning after the flood. People were already there with spades to clear the mud and salvage what they could. She also paid tribute to "the extraordinary level of support we received at every turn from our insurers, the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group".

Representatives of those who had worked on the restoration processed into the service with symbols of their involvement: churchwardens with spades, architects with plans, builders with damaged and new timbers, parishioners with a re-bound ancient Bible and restored Prayer Book. There were new altar furnishings, new kneelers, new hymn books, and a ton of bulbs for the churchyard. The restored church was rededicated by the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Bill Ind, and the sermon was preached by Canon Cliff Piper, who grew up in the area, but whose present parish in Scotland includes the RAF base at Kinloss, from where the air rescue was co-ordinated.

There was utter silence as he read out the message that had called the emergency service which "feared we may lose Boscastle". Like Minster Church itself, the village is making a remarkable recovery.


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