Floodlights raise funds for ‘Poppy’ church

A landmark church in the Waveney Valley celebrates special occasions by switching on its floodlights.

It has become increasingly popular and raises funds for the 900-year-old grade 1-listed All Saints Church, Thorpe Abbotts.

Simon Beet, secretary to the parochial church council, said that the prominent position on the A143 between Diss, Harleston and Bungay was an obvious advantage.

“We ask for a £5 donation to turn on the floodlights and it is proving increasing popular . Seeing it alight as I drive past always brings a smile to my face wondering what event or person we are celebrating,” he added. “Whether it is celebrating a birthday or an anniversary, a special occasion or the loss of a loved one, it helps the church as well,” said Mr Beet.

A former PCC member, Rosemary Barham, had suggested the idea to celebrate the Millennium when mobile lighting had used at the church. The floodlights were installed in 2003.

It costs £5 – payable in advance to turn on the floodlights. “We already have a list of events and celebrations we mark with the lights and would love to light the church more often,” added Mr Beet. Last year, several hundred pounds was raised for the maintenance fund.

All Saints is lit for Christmas and Easter and on other occasions. “We even switched on the floodlights for the General Election,” he said. Typically during the winter, the lights are switched on between about 5pm and midnight.

To mark the centenary of the ending of the Great War and the Armistice in 1918, a projector was hired to display a poppy on the church tower. This was partly paid for by the parish council, the village hall and donations, said Mr Beet. It also earned Thorpe Abbotts the title as the “village with poppies.”

To have the lights switched on, please contact Sue Williams on 0785 5414941 or Mr Beet, who took the photograph of the floodlight church, on allsaintsta@btinternet.com

The £5 donation can also be paid direct to the church by bank transfer.