A comfortably filled All Saints Church Leighton Buzzard welcomed the Lord Lieutenant, the town mayor and the Vice Chairman of South Bedfordshire Council on Sunday afternoon to a special thanksgiving service to mark completion of a 16-year programme of repair and restoration.
The large congregation was made of up people who had been part of the work and others who had raised or donated funds to help pay for it.
The Vicar of All Saints, Canon Grant Fellows, pointed out in his sermon that the initial cost estimates, following the first architectural inspection of the church in 1999, were in the region of £500,000, but the final figure turned out to be nearer to £2m.
He said: “There is still a debt outstanding, a debt of gratitude to all who have helped to save this splendid building which was in danger of not being able to be used - and turning it into a beacon for the community.”
He thanked all involved over the years with a special thank you to the architect, Michael Dales, the main contractors, Weldon Stone of Corby and Terry Warburton who had led the fund raising and chaired the church’s fabric committee.
After the service the congregation were treated to tea in a large marquee in the grounds, with a string musical accompaniment.