St James’ wins national Green award

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WINNING a Church Times Green Church Award was a “wow” moment for Ed Sampson, the church warden at St James’ Finchampstead in Berkshire.

The church was awarded £1,000 for its work to convert scrubland into a biodiverse churchyard extension and garden of remembrance. Now a wildlife haven, the garden features bat boxes, bee hotels and wild flowers. The judges praised the range of small measures, the celebration of diversity and the community engagement. Pictured right is Bishop Andrew at the consecration of the churchyard in 2016. The first burial on the newly converted land took place in October.

Ed travelled to Lambeth Palace for the prestigious awards ceremony. Ed said: “There were so many deserving cases. I set off thinking there was no chance of us winning. When they announced St James’ had won I nearly fell off my chair.” He described the project, which saw volunteers clear 10ft high brambles and nettles to get it level for burials. “It is hoped that the prize money will be used for more landscaping work to help the churchyard fit in with the local scenery.”

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