THE oldest St George’s church in the UK has been celebrating its namesake saint’s day with family fun activities.
St George and St Mary’s Church and community hall, in Church Street, Church Gresley, held a St George’s Patronal Family Day yesterday, which was beamed over the airwaves into Europe thanks to an amateur radio station.
Caroline Carr, lay pastor, who has been involved with the church for 38 years, said: “We didn’t actually know it was the oldest in the UK but Phoenix Radio, based in Nottingham, got in touch saying they had done some research and wanted to come down and do something in the oldest St George’s church.
“They have been talking to loads of people from across Europe which has been really exciting. People who have connections to the church have got in touch with them.”
The church decided to create a community day and held a George and the Dragon competition in the local school before the holidays – which was judged yesterday by Ann Hood, chairman of South Derbyshire District Council.
The church’s dance group also entertained the crowds, as well as a puppet show, music and quizzes, messy church crafts and tea, coffee and cake.
Mrs Carr added: “We also had a lot of stalls and because we are a mining community we also had a mining heritage stall.”
The church was built on the site in 1135 as monastery in the reign on Henry I. Originally a priory was constructed with the church, but no trace of that structure remains. Most of the church was rebuilt in 1820, restored in 1881-82 and again in 1896.
It now needs major repair work which has been helped along by ‘unexpected donations’ yesterday.
Mrs Carr said: “We just had it as a community day and were not expecting donations but people have been very good.
“The day has been brilliant. We have had an abundance of people through the doors. It is such a beautiful church and a special place and we want it to stay.”