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New community space unveiled in Amersham
A NEW community space in Amersham was officially unveiled by the Bishop of Oxford on Saturday.
The Rt Rev John Pritchard blessed the new St Michael's Square as six months of work was shown off for the first time after a £185,000 redevelopment project.
He described it as an 'Olympic moment' for the town as the area in front of St Michael and All Angels Church in Sycamore Road was opened up.
The Bishop said: "What you have done here is the result of so many partnerships, it isn’t just the work of a few. There’s a massive amount of preparation behind these Olympic victories and here too, there has been a huge amount of preparation that goes back a long way.
"The church’s job is to prepare everyone to achieve their personal best. So I look forward to a lot of Olympic moments happening right here in this square."
He added: "Liminal spaces are really important because it’s where people meet on common ground. It’s a lovely space to have here, it’s a real gift."
He was joined in the blessing of the square by the Venerable Karen Gorham, Archdeacon of Buckingham, who sprinkling it with holy water from a bucket carried by young church member Aileen Cleary.
The project features a new labyrinth, quiet garden and performance area, with the new-look entrance to the church featuring angel sculptures created by glass artist Suzanne Raffellini.
She said: "Everybody’s been really complimentary, saying that it has passed all expectations. One of my friends even came up and she was in tears and that made me cry."
After the opening ceremony 200 red helium balloons were released into the sky and there were performances from the Amersham A Cappella choir and the Blues Band Reloaded.
Mayor Mimi Harker said: "It has been the most fabulous service today and look how the people of Amersham have turned up. The square has been so long dreamed of and it’s become a reality, it’s so beautiful."