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Best day yet for the Preservation Group

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: June 23, 2014

By John Workman

Deb Brownlee accepts the lease from John Cockling, with Keith Jeffries (centre) in attendance

Deb Brownlee accepts the lease from John Cockling, with Keith Jeffries (centre) in attendance

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IT HAS been a long haul for the St Johns Preservation Group, but things are now moving fast, and the Bugle continues to keep its readers up to date with regard to the fortunes of this enthusiastic and hard working company of people who have been striving to save the future of the church in Kates Hill, Dudley, over recent years.

And when Chair of the Group Deb Brownlee contacted us with some great news we didn't hesitate to hot-foot our way across to the church grounds on a beautiful Black Country morning to witness a very important event held in the shadow of the church lychgate built as a war memorial to the fallen of the parish in the Great War, and beneath the Victorian church tower, a local Dudley landmark for nearly 175 years.

Before the brief ceremony began Deb explained to us what it was all about: "Over the past ten years we have had lows and highs of equal measure, times when the end was in sight only for problems to bring the shutters crashing down on our endeavours, and then moments of euphoria, and I count today as one of those precious moments.

"The lease which will enable the St Johns Church Preservation Group to re-open the church building has been sent by the Church Commissioners to the Preservation Group's solicitor, John Cockling (Head of Commercial and Commercial Property Departments) of Wall James Chappell, Stourbridge, and we are delighted John has been able to make his first ever visit to St Johns on such an auspicious occasion. He's about to hand it over!

"Now all I have to do, with John's help of course, is to read the small print in the lease very carefully and agree with its contents. Then the Preservation Group will be able to take full responsibility for the building for the very first time. The Group has so many plans we are bursting at the seams with ideas. The day we open and allow our first visitors into the building is very close and I have to admit I am already trembling with excitement."

In the company of Preservation Group treasurer Keith Jeffries and solicitor John Cockling, Deb gleefully accepted the lease and shouted, "Since St John's had to close in 2002, this is the best day yet for the Preservation Group and its army of volunteers!"

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