Many reasons to celebrate for Middleton Cheney church

New Chenderit Benefice assistant priest Carolyn Oley (left) with new rector Nicholas Leggett NNL-180214-153714001
New Chenderit Benefice assistant priest Carolyn Oley (left) with new rector Nicholas Leggett NNL-180214-153714001

All Saints Church in Middleton Cheney has many reasons to celebrate with nearly £30,000 given for repairs and two new clergy members joining the benefice.

The Bishop of Peterborough, Donald Allister, inducted Nicholas Leggett as Chenderit Benefice’s new rector and Carolyn Oley as associate priest at a ceremony on Saturday, February 3.

And the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded the church an initial £29,700 to carry out repairs to the roof to prevent further damage to the painted ceiling.

Churchwardens Bridget Robb and Mike Wilks said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players.

“The church has given the village a place for live entertainment, public meetings and large group activities for the past 100 years, and it’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for another century.”

Leaks through the roof are putting the William Morris-designed ceiling, which was painted by a Banbury man in 1865, and the entire building at risk.

The funds will also create a photographic record of the William Morris-designed stained glass windows to increase awareness of the church’s artistic heritage.

More cash is hoped to be awarded from the National Lottery fund to continue the project, with it expected to start this month and completed by mid-2019.

Dignitaries and other clergy members gathered to welcome Rev Leggett and Rev Oley to the benefice.

Nick moved into Middleton Cheney in December with his family while concluding his ministry in Coventry, having previously worked in the Royal Mail in south London.

This is his fourth posting as a priest within his third diocese – he is also a chaplain with both the Air Training Corp and an officer within the Royal Army Chaplain’s Deparment, serving with the Warwickshire Army Cadets.

Father Nick, as he is known, brings a wide range of skills and is looking forward to working with the wider community as the benefits develops its offering.

Carolyn grew up in Herefordshire in a farming family before going to university and then into a career in social work.

She was both curate and then rector in Blakesley, Northamptonshire.

Carolyn said she is looking forward to working in ‘the friendly and welcoming churches’ in the benefice –and has ‘a strong feeling that the best is yet to come’.