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Duke of Gloucester visits Church in Plaistow 

Memorial Community Church in Plaistow welcomed visitors from the National Churches Trust including its vice-patron, The Duke of Gloucester, a first cousin to The Queen.

A spruced-up church in a landmark building hosted royalty last week.

HRH The Duke of Gloucester, Luke March DL, Chairman National Churches Trust and the Revd Mark Janes at Memorial Community Church, Plaistow, LondonMemorial Community Church in Plaistow welcomed visitors from the National Churches Trust including its vice-patron, The Duke of Gloucester, a first cousin to The Queen.

The National Churches Trust gave the church £20,000 in 2011 to help install new toilets and disabled access to the Welcome Centre at the back of the church.Duke of Gloucester visits chur
Last year it awarded a further grant of £40,000 towards the last phase of high-level repairs needed to stop rain coming in the building. That work is due to take place this summer. The church was formed in 2006 when Memorial Baptist Church merged with St Andrew's Church. Since then it has been working to repair and redevelop its building, built in a Byzantine style in 1922, for greater community use.

The congregation at the time envisioned "a great cathedral Church towering above the mean streets of West Ham, witnessing to the love of God and welcoming, as to a house of beauty and peace, burdened and weary hearts."

Over lunch The Duke of Gloucester and other guests met representatives of the church and also people involved with groups that use the building: Alternatives Trust East London; the Bridges project for the homeless; the Plus Centre; and the new Active Tuesdays sessions for older residents that have started in the Welcome Centre.

Their tour of the building included the Memorial Bells which are cast with the names of 200 local men killed in the First World War plus the name of the only member of the royal family to be killed serving in that war.

Lunch was prepared by some members of the We Are Family parenting support group, run by local charity Alternatives, that meets in the building.

The visit was the last stop on a private tour by The Duke of Gloucester of three East End churches that have received grants from the National Churches Trust and was arranged as part of the National Churches Trust's 60th anniversary year celebrations.
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