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All Saints’ Church in Oakham launches £100,000 appeal for new lighting

Churchgoers who are forced to read hymnbooks by torchlight are raising money for new lighting.

Parishioners at All Saints’ Church in Oakham have launched a £100,000 fundraising appeal to replace the building’s ageing system.

Michael Latham has taken on the role of project manager after the most recent discussions.

All Saints Church in Oakham
All Saints Church in Oakham

He said: “The lighting has been talked about since 1982 and when it came up again 18 months ago, I said there is no point just talking about it, we need to do something.

“In the winter months you just can’t see. Some people even bring head torches to be able to see the pages of their hymnbooks.”

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Designs for a new lighting system are being finalised before companies are asked to bid for the contract. Once the final costs are known the church will apply for grants, but in the meantime there is a focus on fundraising.

Nearly £45,000 has already been raised through private donations and smaller local grants, but Michael believes raising the second half of the money will be more of a challenge.

He hopes to reach the target in time to start work in January 2025, when the church would be closed for two months.

Three fundraising concerts will take place this year to help meet the costs. Professional organists have been invited to perform at the church on bank holiday Mondays in May and August.

Richard Pinel, who was director of music at Jesus College in Cambridge, will perform on May 6 followed by Andrew Reid, organist at Peterborough Cathedral, on May 27. Simon Johnson, the director of music at Westminster Cathedral, will perform on August 27.

Each concert will start at 11.15am. Admission is free with collections on the door for the lighting appeal. The first 50 people through the door at each concert will be invited to attend a lunch afterwards, costing £8 per person.

The Sunday services at All Saints’ Church regularly attract up to 60 people. The building is also used for weekly lunchtime concerts by Oakham School pupils to give them a public platform. It is hoped the new lighting system will help to attract other performers to the town.

Anyone who would like to support the lighting appeal can contact Michael Latham by email at: m.latham325@btinternet.com

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