York Handmade comes to rescue of ‘devastated’ village church

Churchwarden at St John’s, Minskip, Robert Beaumont, right, with David Armitage of York Handmade

The generosity of an award-winning North Yorkshire brickmaker has helped a little village church rebuild its historic wall after it was demolished by a reckless driver.

The York Handmade Brick Company, one of the largest independent brickmakers in the country, donated the bricks free of charge to St John’s Church in Minskip, near Boroughbridge.

This gift has enabled the church wall to be completely rebuilt and, accordingly to church warden Robert Beaumont, it looks exactly as it did before the accident.

He said: “We were absolutely devastated when we saw the extensive damage the out-of-control car had done to our wall. It was heart-breaking. As a small church, we were struggling to find the funds to restore the wall to its former glory, so this gift from York Handmade has made all the difference.

“The reckless driver and his passengers left the scene as soon as they could, taking their smashed-up car with them, but they left their registration plate embedded in the wall. They were subsequently traced by the police, but no-one admitted to being the driver, meaning a conviction would be hard to achieve.

“This left the church council feeling very angry indeed and we are currently pursuing compensation. But the generosity of York Handmade has improved our mood, underlining the fact that kind acts often follow selfish and destructive ones.

“We are now very honoured to have special bricks in our church wall from a company which has been involved in award-winning projects across the UK, including the Shard, Highgate School and London Bridge Station in London, St Albans Cathedral, Magdalene College, Cambridge, York Art Gallery, York Racecourse and Halifax Library.

David Armitage, chairman of York Handmade Brick, which is based in Alne, near Easingwold, said: “We are absolutely delighted to help St John’s Church. As luck would have it, we had some bricks which almost exactly matched the 19th century church wall. Looking at the wall now, I think it’s impossible to tell where our bricks begin and end.

“We pride ourselves in helping the local North Yorkshire community when we can and this was a project which suited us perfectly. St John’s is a lovely little church, and an important part of village life, and we know how upset villagers were when the wall was wrecked. We are so happy to have played our part in its restoration.”

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