Conservator blasts vandals for repeatedly targeting Shimpling church
An angry conservator has blasted vandals who have repeatedly targeted a south Norfolk church.
St George’s Church, in Burston Road, dates back to the 12th Century. It is open to the public, and hosts about six special services a year.
Your actions have made the most dedicated volunteer – a man who has served this building, which he dearly loves, for close to fifty years – to step down because of the distress and fear you have caused
But it has been the subject of vandalism since March — which resulted in Maurice Philpot, a long-time volunteer who held numerous roles including, secretary, treasurer, church warden and organist, ending his near 60-year association with the parish.
It has fallen foul in six separate attacks. Four of them have seen the door broken down on the tower, while the church’s wall safe, where visitors leave donations toward the building’s upkeep, have been emptied and “damaged beyond repair.”
And last week, ten of the church’s 12 windows, some of which contained medieval stained glass, were smashed.
A spokesperson for the Churches Conservation Trust said the vandalism began shortly after it was wrongly featured online as derelict — despite the fact it has been in its care for nearly 30 years.
In an open letter, Rachel Morley, estate officer at the Churches Conservation Trust, pleaded for the perpetrators to stop attacking the “clearly cared for” church.
The letter read: “Your actions have made the most dedicated volunteer – a man who has served this building, which he dearly loves, for close to fifty years – to step down because of the distress and fear you have caused.
“It is so utterly wrong that his selfless years of serving worshippers and visitors to the church should end in such a pitiful way because of you.
“I have lodged so many crime reports. I have spent hours on the phone to the police. But to what end? Your crime isn’t as extreme as stripping lead from a church roof but it has been consistent erosion, wanton destruction.
It continued:“Churches have a hard enough time as it is. There is no money to repair them and the majority of the population are not interested in them.
“By mindlessly smashing up the church, you are taking the money away from the essential repairs to the roof. And more so, you have stolen us of our volunteer force, you have robbed people of enjoying this medieval masterpiece.
“You are driving it to dereliction. And for what?
“What’s most saddening of all is that St George’s isn’t alone. You are blighting churches up and down the country with your petty vandalism. You are destroying your own heritage. You will leave us culturally barren.”
Anyone with any information on these crimes is asked to call 101, quoting crime number 36/61817/16 and asking for Diss police station.