MORE than 500 people celebrated the 50th anniversary of Winchester's St Barnabas Church.

In the morning the church held a Thanksgiving service led by the current vicar the Rev Ed Dines and many of the past vicars were there. These included former St Barnabas vicars Terry Roberts, Michael Powis and Philip Cochrane.

Afterwards in the sunshine over 500 people came to the Fun Day on the green outside the church in Weeke.

Throughout Sunday, there was live music from the Winchester Sings choir, a magic show, a free prize draw, face painting, glitter tattoos, a bouncy castle, a free hog roast, and messy sports involving space hopper's and custard.

The new Mayor of Winchester, Cllr David McClean joined in the celebrations and introduced the choir.

Rev Dines said: "It was a very successful day. We had well over 500 people attending. It was a chance for St Barnabas Church to share God's love for the community because God has been so good to us."

Helen May, parish administrator, said: "It was a great day. Everyone enjoyed themselves. We are grateful to the community. The community paid for the church to be built 50 years ago and it was a way to thank the community for supporting us."

On June 11, St Barnabas Day, 1966 the foundation stone of the building was laid and was dedicated by the then Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Falkner Allison in the following year on September 16.

The church originally cost £31,000 and of this £9,400 of this money was raised by individuals and groups living in the St Barnabas parish community, much of it collected by parishioners going from door to door with buckets asking local residents to ‘buy a brick’. Along with the money raised, people worked together to stitch the kneelers that are used to pray with.

There are elements of the current building that were installed or made possible because of other buildings of the past. The church bell is from St Peter’s on Chesil Street, now Chesil Theatre, and money was received from the Diocese after the sale of the redundant St Maurice Church which was on the site of the current Debenhams department store. The church spire was hoisted up by a crane that worked from a lorry which was parked inside the church.

St Barnabas is the parish church for people living in the Winchester districts of Weeke, Harestock, Teg Down and Kings Barton - Barton Farm.