The transformation of a village church is complete thanks to the mammoth efforts of villagers who raised £58,000 to pay for its upgrade and upkeep.

Over the past ten years, Littlehempston residents held 160 fundraising events to raise enough money to turn their church into a dual space for both worship and community events.

They have spent the last decade organising theatre shows, community meals, dances, music and poetry events, village fetes, pop-up stalls, competitions, and the making and selling of calendars and Christmas cards to pay off a £22,000 loan from the Exeter Diocese.

They also raised a further £36,000 to pay for the upkeep of the church and bills.

The total cost of the building work to adapt the church was £120,000, of which £98,000 was provided through grants and awards from numerous organisations.

To celebrate the completion of the ambitious ‘Community Space’ project, organisers held a cream tea in the church for the whole village.

Space chairperson Ali Taylor, said: “In 2011 the Grade 1 Listed village church, with a falling congregation, was in real need of support.

“As there was no village hall it was decided to reorder the church so other activities and events could take place there, while regular church services continued. 

“After much fundraising and a loan from Exeter Diocese a kitchen, toilets and underfloor heating were installed. 

“The then rector, Rev Nicholas Pearkes, had the brilliant idea of mounting the Victorian pews on wheels so they could be pushed back creating space for activities such as exercise classes, folk choir, live theatre, ceilidhs, parties and music as the acoustics are in the church are beautiful.

“This novel idea spread far and wide and 35 churches, some from as far away as Canada, have been in touch to find out how you can have a functioning church and village hall sharing the same space.

“A decade later and after 160 fundraising events, the loan has been paid off, so to celebrate the Space team organised an excellent cream tea to thank everyone who had contributed to the success of the project.

“A slide show and exhibition of events posters elicited much reminiscing and also a feeling of pride.”

If you would like to book the church as an unusual venue for a party, music rehearsals or another event visit