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Thanet gothic style church praised by visitors

The St Augustine Church in Ramsgate was given the top spot by visitors Credit: ITV Meridian

A gothic style church has been voted the best tourist attraction in the coastal region of Thanet. St Augustine in Ramsgate was given the top spot by visitors on website TripAdvisor.

The St Augustine Church in Ramsgate was given the top spot by visitors Credit: ITV Meridian

Some of the comments include-

"Loved this church which has been restored beautifully - friendly volunteers who were keen to share their knowledge with us. Beautiful."

The St Augustine Church in Ramsgate was given the top spot by visitors Credit: ITV Meridian

"Wonderful building and lovely interior. Interesting layout and passion tableau. [F]riendly steward who took time to explain about the architect and the buildings. Serene atmosphere and beautiful colours. Opportunity to light candles and buy postcards and homemade preserves."

Repairs given go-ahead for Grade Two listed church

The Grade II-listed wall of Reading's St Laurence Church which has been propped up with scaffolding for three decades will be repaired. The Borough Council's planning committee approved plans to demolish and rebuild five sections of the wall and rebuild them on new concrete foundations.

Repairs will be carried out on St Laurence Church in Reading Credit: ITV Meridian

Plans have been approved to demolish five sections of the wall and rebuild them on new concrete foundations where necessary and reusing existing bricks. The work programme has been backed by English Heritage, but must be approved by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles.

Repairs will be carried out on St Laurence Church in Reading Credit: ITV Meridian

The wall is the retaining wall of St Laurence Churchyard. The churchyard is now closed but had been conducting burials for hundreds of years. The borough council has responsibility for maintaining 'closed' churchyards.

The church is a Grade I-listed Norman building and any work will have to take account of the archaeology of the site, the sensitivity of dealing with human remains and the preservation of the trees.

Repairs will be carried out on St Laurence Church in Reading Credit: ITV Meridian

The wall was built in the mid-16th Century at the request of Queen Mary to enlarge the churchyard. It has medieval flint facing with repairs from the 16th, 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries.

A band of 19th Century brickwork contrasts with the older sections beneath. A tree fell last winter and damaged part of the wall near the gateway. The wall forms a key part of the Abbey Quarter Project which is the subject of a second Heritage Lottery bid after the first one failed.

Repairs will be carried out on St Laurence Church in Reading Credit: ITV Meridian

But the wall is to be repaired using cash from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund because its repair will open up an important town centre pavement which is currently unusable.

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Savings and loans offered by Kent church

Where do you turn when you want a loan? A bank? A building society? A friend? How about your local church! Well this morning, Kent's first "community bank" to be held in a church opened its doors for savers and borrowers.

Last year the Archbishop of Canterbury promised to do more to help people affected by debt, and to provide alternatives to high-interest "pay day loans". But are financial services really what the church should be involved in?

David Johns reports, speaking to the Rt Rev Trevor Wilmott, Bishop of Dover; parish priest Rev Lesley Jones; financial expert Justin Urquhart Stewart; and headteacher Patricia Hatt.

Acid spill at church car park in Oxfordshire

A church car park was closed after 25 litres of Hydrochloric acid spilled from a container in Faringdon, Oxfordshire. It happened at 10.15am yesterday. The container and the spill were quickly contained and cleared up by Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue crews dressed in protective equipment.

Incident Commander Station Manager Mike Adcock said: 'The quick action of members of the public in calling the Fire and Rescue Service, enabled the service to arrive promptly and effectively deal with the spill.'

Leap of faith: congregation raises cash for new church

It was a bit of a leap of faith: A small community of Staplehurst Free Church near Maidstone pulled down their old building - and then began the urgent task of raising money for a new one.

And they aimed high. The hundred strong congregation needed more than a million pounds for their new church.

Hard work, sponsored walks, church fetes, and bring-and-buys - and a grant, got them the money they needed.

Kevin Harrison has been speaking to Ryan Ahern, the Assistant Pastor and Architect Richard Hawks. Click on the link above to see his report.

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Pipes played by Handel to make music again

The organ at Holy Trinity Church in Gosport Credit: ITV Meridian

A church organ once played by the composer Handel will be played again at a special concert tonight after falling silent for a year. The instrument was installed at Holy Trinity Church in Gosport in 1747 and for the past year has undergone a major overhaul.

The pipes played by Handel Credit: ITV Meridian

The restoration work was paid for using £167,000 of lottery funding. Now completed, it will be played again this evening during a special concert.

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