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Huge extent of destruction of St Peter’s Church in Ropley revealed
THE complete devastation of a Hampshire church caused by fire has been revealed by this aerial photo.
Photographer Kevin Milner used a remote controlled drone to take the picture from 250ft above St Peter’s Church in Ropley, near Alresford, which was engulfed by fire last Thursday.
The roof was completely destroyed, as was centuries old medieval architecture, much of the bell tower, records dating back to the 1960s, the pulpit, and a 16th century font.
Mr Milner, from Alresford, has been a professional countryside and equine photographer for seven years, and his work can be seen on greetings cards across the county.
He said: “I have taken it to give to the church. I supply them with church cards and it’s nice to give something back to the community. Once it has been rebuilt they can put it up.”
The cause of the fire remains unknown, though there is speculation after parishioners reported electrical surges in the hours leading up to the blaze.
An investigation is under way and the Rev Royston Such, vicar for 24 years, says it could be weeks before its results are revealed. “I was told by the forensics people that we shouldn’t expect to hear anything for three or four weeks.
“The tower is very dangerous – you can’t go inside.”
He estimates the cost of repairs to be £2.5m, but says donations have already been flooding in.
“People are responding in financial terms, but also with love and that is the only word for it,” he said.
The Friends of St Peter’s group held its annual meeting on Friday. Fifty people attended and Parkstone Road resident Andy Bonner was elected to oversee communications for the rebuilding process.
He said: “It’s a question of getting everybody working together. It was really good to see people come together at the meeting. It’s a terrible circumstance but it’s good that everybody in the village wants to pull together and help get something done.”
The annual meeting and summer party raised about £1,000, which will be added to the £83,000 the Friends have already banked.
At its height 100 firefighters tackled the blaze.
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