RESIDENTS in Mudeford gathered to remember their beloved church that was destroyed by a fire last year.

Churchwardens and residents sung hymns and said prayers for Mudeford’s All Saints Church on Sunday, July 16.

The historic Victorian building was destroyed on July 14, 2022, after an electric fault caused flames to engulf the church.

Over 50 firefighters attended the scene, with huge damage being left to the roof and interior.

Bournemouth Echo: Churchwarden, Chris Green

Churchwarden, Chris Green, emphasised her thanks to the community at the ceremony, which saw a turnout of around 100 residents.

“On behalf of all the saints we say thank you to those fire fighters.

“It was not just my church it was the whole community’s.

“To the organisations offering to help, we are truly thankful.

“Tony and I are so grateful to have such a dedicated team. I would like to thank the residents of Mudeford.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Firefighters from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, who attended the tragedy last year, also came to the service.

READ MORE: 'Like for like' rebuild of historic church devastated by fire could cost millions

READ MORE: Mudeford's All Saints Church - pictures from the tragic fire a year ago

Anthea Bell, who represented the residents of Mudeford, said she will ‘never forget that day.’ “I saw not only smoke but flames.

Bournemouth Echo: Anthea Bell, representing the residents of Mudeford

“I rushed round, not sure what I could do but felt like I needed to be there.

“The firefighters had no care for themselves but for our building.

“It made me think had we become too comfortable, too complacent?

“Was this a granted opportunity to change, could we rise again like the phoenix, to be a symbol of light?”

Churchwarden and Treasurer, Tony Eden, spoke of the plans for the future of the church.

Bournemouth Echo: Churchwarden and Treasurer, Tony Eden

“We have made much progress since last July.

“Everyone we spoke to wanted the church to be rebuilt same as before, so that is what we are doing.

“The old building did not have an accessible entrance, so the architects will be creating a new entrance with disabled access.

“Some items that survived the fire are being restored however, all of the pews were destroyed.

“All of the stained glass windows were also either destroyed or severely damaged, but we’re hoping to replace them with same design.”

The Daily Echo has previously reported that the ‘like for like’ rebuild is expected to cost around £2.7m, with work being completed by December 2024.

Construction could begin at the end of the year, but some fundraising may have to be done ahead of the rebuild for “extras" not covered by insurance.