Although the north aisle of Bridport Parish Church had to be closed after the ceiling collapsed just before Advent, St Mary’s Church sustained a large, varied and well attended programme of Christmastide services and activities. These ranged from quiet candlelit reflection at Compline to children’s excitement on Christmas Eve at the Crib Service with the sheep puppet, Minty and Christmas craft activities. As well as hosting several schools’ carol services, there was a capacity congregation at the annual Blue Light Carol Service for the Emergency Services attended by the High Sheriff and the Chief Constable of Dorset, the Mayor and heads of the emergency organisations. A Service of Lessons and Carols was the first under the new Director of Music, Tim Linsley. He is hoping to recruit new members into the 17 strong choir.
One of the town’s food banks Cupboard Love is organised by the Bridport Team Ministry and 64 Christmas Hampers and 48 Christmas stockings for children were distributed. Team Vicar Pete Stone says that it could not have been done without the generosity of the town’s people, churches, organisations, and the businesses, including Groves, Nina’s, Balsons, Toymaster, Morrison’s, Co-op, Lidl, the Rope Makers, the Rotary Club and Zoe a pupil at Colfox School who organised a collection point at the school.
Although the ceiling is now patched and the north aisle reopened, John Cooke one of the churchwardens reports that the underlying problem in the lead roof will require work that may cost at least £70,000!