Horncastle's St Mary's Church given a spruce up by hardworking students

Students have worked hard throughout their summer holidays to make our town’s church look smarter than ever.


Students from both Queen Elizabeth Grammar School and Banovallum School have been taking part in their National Citizen Service (NCS), these past two weeks – a government-funded voluntary personal and social development programmer for 15 to 17-year-olds.

The scheme encourages youngsters to take on new challenges and make a positive change to their communities, and the Horncastle students decided that their volunteering challenge would see them raise money for, and tidy up the grounds of, St Mary’s church.

The group chose the local church because they all said how much of a difference it would look with a bit of a tidy up.

The Horncastle NCS students.
The Horncastle NCS students.
The Horncastle NCS students.

As well as keeping up the maintenance of the church yard, the students planted some more flowers and plants in the large boxes on West Street, as well as giving them lots of water by filling six pint milk cartons, placing them in trolleys and walking with them up to West Street and up some ladders to water the flower boxes on lamp posts throughout the town.

Jess Baxter, spokesman for the group and project manager, said: “As a group we allocated each other different tasks to accomplish, some being dusting the stain glass windows and sweeping inside and out, others were cleaning the hidden grave stones and raking fallen leaves. Another set of us walked around Horncastle litter picking which was very successful, lots of bin bags were overflowing by the time they returned too.

Jess said that the NCS was, as a whole, an incredible experience and even helped to mend long-standing rivalries between the Banovallum and QEGS students:"We have all come together for our community and worked as a team throughout this week.

"There was an instant rivalry between each of us, but, after a week of residential at Kingswood Dearne Valley, we have all been getting to know one another during team building skills and trusting activities. So, before the second week of the volunteering part we all knew what we wanted to achieve.

"It was a pleasure working along side such amazing young people and we are all so grateful to everyone that supported, encouraged and believed in us to do well.”

The students are now running a GoFundMe project to raise money to have CCTV cameras installed outside the church to discourage antisocial behaviour and keep the church and the gardens safe.

Reverend Charles Patrick said they were so grateful to the students for all their hard work:

"They’ve done such a wonderful job and they really put themselves to it and it’s amaing.

"We were so grateful for their fundraising too, we said that CCTV is something we’d like to have and they said they wanted to raise money for us – we’re very grateful.”

You can make a donation to the students’ appeal at https://gofund.me/3e28574c