Lasting memory of Stuart in refurbished church

A SPECIAL service of morning prayer and re-dedication of St John’s Parish Church, Drumgath, took place on Sunday following an extensive refurbishment programme completed at the eighteenth century building.

As part of the work, the Wilson family of Rathfriland donated the church’s new glass doors inside the porch, internal doors to the nave, the door to the bell tower and notice boards and book shelves.

The donations were made in memory of their young son Stuart who died almost two years ago in a freak boating accident at Cranfield beach near Kilkeel, Co. Down.

The six year-old was being towed on a wake board when he was struck by a speed boat during a bank holiday weekend at the popular beach resort.

Other items were donated in memory of loved ones linked to the church, including two new stained glass windows presented by Carol Linton in memory of Graham May and by the Orr family in memory of William and Alex Orr.

Work on St. John’s started with a simple repair and resulted in almost every aspect of the building being improved.

Over a period of four months in the winter of 2011/12, the tower was restored inside and out and the exterior walls were stripped of their crumbling render and re-plastered with lime mortar.

Work continued with the roof insulated, felt, lined and re-slated, the internal gallery wall re-plastered and the stone work around the east window dressed and repaired.

Perimeter walls were also repaired or replaced, new gates and railings fitted and the nave was dug out and a timber framed floor fitted.