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Pews at Holy Trinity Church, Sheerness, went to make room for wheelchairs, says vicar

By Emma Grove
Pews have been taken out of Holy Trinity Church, Sheerness

Pews have been taken out of Holy Trinity Church, Sheerness

A vicar has reassured worried Islanders after pews were removed from a church.

Twelve of the seats have been taken out of Holy Trinity in Sheerness and it was thought they were going to be replaced with chairs.

They have all been sold for £75 each and the money raised will be going into the upkeep of the building.

Julia McDougall, of St Helen’s Road, Sheerness, had posted a picture to The Sheppey History Page on Facebook when she saw the pews being taken out.

She worried fold-up chairs may be put in their place after hearing it seems to be the ‘modern trend’ to replace them.

However, the Rev Tim Hall has said it is actually to make space for wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs.

Mrs McDougall, 58, said: “There’s something about having the pews there – it’s the atmosphere. I think churches should stay as they are. We are losing our heritage and the church is a focal point of Sheerness.”

Rev Tim Hall

Rev Tim Hall

Mr Hall said the dozen seats, which have been taken from the right-hand side of the building, have been moved to allow everyone to fit in.

Although there was a bit of space before, he said it was near a gas heater which made people sitting nearby too hot but if it was switched off, the rest of the congregation would be cold.

The other reason is to create a bit more space inside, so people who use the hall next door can also use the main church.

There are also plans in future to try to open up the rooms upstairs, which would involve putting in another staircase.

However, Mr Hall said because it’s a listed structure, changes like this have to go through months of discussions first.

Mrs McDougall had heard there was also a chance the organ may be removed, but Mr Hall said this is not the case.

Although a small section of the ceiling had collapsed onto part of it, which they were slightly worried about, he said for now it’s staying where it is.

“The church is facing building problems like damp and things, so the money raised from the pews will go towards funding that,” he said.

“There are no plans to take any more pews out at this stage.”

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