IN an effort to put the church back on the map, a local parish administrator has got crafty, knitting mis-behaving mice to tell the stories of the church’s past.

Parish Administrator for the Church of England in Ampfield, Chilworth and North Baddesley benefice, Sally Kerson has been busy knitting mice, which will be placed within St. John the Baptist from September 3.

The mice will be moved around the church, in North Baddesley, telling the history of the building to help spark more interest and entertain church goers with what they get up to.

Licenced Lay Minister Sally Kerson said: “The church furnishings, monuments and stained glassed windows all have a story to tell and what a better way to do it than through the eyes of the mice.

Hampshire Chronicle:

“We know there are actual church mice which inhabit the building, and we are sure they get up to tricks when the church is closed as they like chewing candles and paper and so mice was the obvious choice!  Although saying that I have crocheted a bat but will leave that for a later date.

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“We hope more people will engage with us either through social media or visit the churches and enjoy learning a little more about the history and general happenings in the buildings at the same time. It’s a form of outreach, we are here and still very much operating as a church and welcome people whether they come to visit or worship.

“There is a desire to put St. Johns back on the map again as it is the oldest building in the village and recorded in the Domesday Book.”

Before the mice start exploring the building, the benefice has invited the public to come up with names on Facebook. Current suggestions include “Pinky & Perky”, “Bubble & Squeak” and “Cheese & Pickle”. The names of the resident mice will be announced at the end of August.

In 2018, a poppy cascade from the tower of St. Johns was created to mark 100 years since the end of World War One. The cascade called ‘Over the Top’ featured more than 4,000 hand knitted and crocheted poppies. Pictures of it were seen all around the world and it attracted thousands of visitors to the church. With the church mice, the benefice is hoping to get back some publicity and bring more people into the church.

Hampshire Chronicle:

The church and its mice will be free to visit at weekends. Eventually, more knitted friends will be hidden around All Saints Church in North Baddesley - home to the community library and the benefice’s children-based services like messy church.

By the time the mice go on display, Sally hopes to have done more knitting with the plan to sell some of the creatures through the Parish Office, the community library and the fortnightly community café. The proceeds will go towards projects such as restoring the war memorial at St. Johns and making the All Saints building more accessible.

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The Church of England in Ampfield, Chilworth and North Baddesley has a crafty reputation, hosting events for people to learn new skills such as ‘Wine and Paint’, ‘Craft Afternoons’ and ‘Messy Church’.

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