WORK has begun to rebuild the cemetery chapel torched by arsonists six months ago.
The Chapel of Rest in Watts Lane Cemetery in Hillmorton is expected to be restored to its former glory in around two months following a successful insurance claim.
A new bier – a wheeled cart for carrying coffins – has been found after the chapel’s original Victorian bier – previously described as irreplaceable – was damaged beyond repair in the blaze.
A borough council spokesman added the council hoped to return the chapel’s bell, which was removed from the roof a couple of years ago due to a spate of metal thefts, to the chapel’s interior.
We reported last November how the window of the Chapel of Rest was removed and a fire built inside which spread to the entire building, forcing the Churches Together in Hillmorton group, which opened the chapel once a month for mourners, to cancel its Christmas service.
It happened just eight months after the chapel was extensively refurbished at a cost of around £15,000 when new windows were fitted and the interior was replastered, repainted and redesigned.
At the time of the blaze Grace Hamp, chairman of The Churches Together in Hillmorton group told us the fire had come as a huge shock while the council branded those responsible mindless.
But environment spokesman Coun Dr Mark Williams pledged: “We will rebuild and repair the chapel, but it looks like the historic cemetery bier is beyond saving. It is irreplaceable.”