‘I just wanted to clear mess’: Warden’s reaction to vandalism at Hogsthorpe church

St Mary's Church, Hogsthorpe, warden Neil Balderston with one of the church organ pipes that was damaged and used to smash windows. photo: MSKP-120417-8 ANL-170417-153511001
St Mary's Church, Hogsthorpe, warden Neil Balderston with one of the church organ pipes that was damaged and used to smash windows. photo: MSKP-120417-8 ANL-170417-153511001
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A church warden has spoken of the moment she discovered vandals had trashed St Mary’s in Hogsthorpe just days before the busy Easter period and the funeral of a well-known local resident.

Lillian Cunnington said she had gone along to the church at about 4.20pm on Friday, April 7, to put up a noticeboard outside advertising the Easter services when she heard running water.

St Mary's Chuch, Hogsthorpe, visitors' book with torn pages. Photo: MSKP-120417-5 ANL-170417-153529001

St Mary's Chuch, Hogsthorpe, visitors' book with torn pages. Photo: MSKP-120417-5 ANL-170417-153529001

She said: “I really didn’t realise what had happened at first and went into the kitchen to turn the water off. Then I started to notice everything was all over the place.

“Even then it didn’t register and I thought I really must clean up that mess before the funeral on Wednesday.

“Then it dawned on me what had happened and I realised I shouldn’t be cleaning up at all. I called the other church warden, my husband and the vicar and we rang the police.”

Amongst the thousands of pounds worth of damage to windows, wooden pews, hymn books, Bibles, lights and curtains, the organ and its pipes, was a Stations of the Cross she and her husband had sponsored after joining the church in 2005.

Mrs Cunnington said: “There are 14 in the church which tell the story of the crucifixion and I saw number three was smashed, which is the one we sponsored.

“My husband managed to glue it together and get it back on the wall for the service on Good Friday, in which the congregation moves from one cross to the next.

“We also got help clearing things up and getting rid of the smell from members of St Leonard’s Church, which is part of The United Benefice of Chapel St Leonards with Hogsthorpe.

“We are also grateful for the generous donations, including two of £100, from members of the public. But when you are talking about a 13th century church, some things hold memories that can never be replaced.”

* More on this on today’s issue of the Skegness Standard.