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Year of celebrations for St James's Church, Hampton Hill
A church that transformed the community is looking forward to a year of celebrations to mark its 150th anniversary.
St James’s Church, in Hampton Hill, is hosting a full programme of events for the landmark year and hopes to raise as much money as possible to support Hampton and Hampton Hill Voluntary Care.
The charity runs the Greenwood Centre and supports people in need, which is a philosophy that has been championed by the church since it arrived in Hampton Hill in 1863.
The church was built specifically to deal with social problems in the area and the first vicar, Reverend Fitzroy Fitz Wygram, was determined to make a difference.
The area, which used to be described as a wilderness with highwaymen on Hounslow Heath, was soon transformed with schools opened, poor people helped and the village developed.
St James’s current Vicar Peter Vannozzi said the church’s place at the heart of the community has not changed, which is why the celebrations involve schoolchildren, scouts and local people.
He said: “The first vicar put a lot of money into schools, buildings and sanitation and we are trying to follow in these footsteps.
“The key thing is the church is part of the community and has been for the past 150 years and we want to follow in that.”
As part of the celebrations the church is producing a 28-page booklet called New Hampton and Hampton Hill in Victorian and Edwardian Times.
The booklet will illustrate the changes to the village and the impact on the community and will also include a competition for the community to take part in and find out more about where they live.
For more information and for a full programme of events, visit stjames-hamptonhill.org.uk.
• St James’s Day Weekend will mark the start of the summer celebrations, with dresses, gowns, robes and floral displays to mark 150 years of weddings and baptisms at the church.
Over the weekend, running from Friday, July 12, to Sunday, July 14, people can also enjoy vintage London Bus tours to the church from the Star.
• St James’s Day service, lunch and open day will be held on Sunday, July 14.
The vicar will turn back the clock and recreate what it would have been like in 1863.
Congregation members are encouraged to come in Victorian dress and the service will be followed by a Victorian-themed lunch.
There will also be the chance to ring the bells and climb the tower for unrivalled views of Hampton Hill.
• The 3rd Hampton Hill Scout Group will brave the church floors for a sponsored sleepover on Saturday, October 5.
• It is hoped that the 150 bulbs planted in the churchyard will be in full bloom for Harvest Festival, on Sunday, October 6 . The Bishop of Kensington will also plant a tree to mark the occasion.
• The main anniversary service will be held on Sunday, December 8.
Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, will visit the church to unveil a plaque to rename the church hall the Fitz Wygram Hall after the first vicar.