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Emergency help needed for church after flooding for second time

12 April 2024

Gill Lonsdale

Sandbags at the door of St John the Baptist, Edlington

Sandbags at the door of St John the Baptist, Edlington

THE 11th-century Church of St John the Baptist, Edlingham, in Northumberland, has required another emergency intervention, after flooding for the second time in three months.

Heavy rainfall has caused a blocked pipe and two streams that diverge near the church to overflow, causing serious water damage to the church’s floors and stonework.

“Thankfully, the second flooding wasn’t as bad as the first, as we feared it might happen again, so took a number of precautions,” the Revd Gill Lonsdale, a retired priest in the area, said this week. “The water is now evaporating, and we now need some fine weather to help us open the doors and dry it all out.”

Mrs Lonsdale said that the first incident of flooding in December, a foot high, had meant that the planned carol service on 23 December had been cancelled. “This was especially disappointing, as we had planned for it to be the first service there since before the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The church is in an isolated community. “It’s a dear little church, but we could do with a few strong men to help with the sandbags,” Mrs Lonsdale said.

The parish team is now looking at flood-defence planning, such as re-siting the church’s entrance and building a brick wall at its lower end, where there is a slope that gathers water. Other conversations have included a local farmer, and the council, to address the ongoing drainage issues.

The hope is that St John’s will reopen this summer, in time for a patronal festival service there in June involving all seven churches in the benefice.

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