A crisis often brings out the best in people

Published on: 12 February 2015

When All Saints’ Church in Kings Lynn was burgled in October 2014, it was a blow to the congregation who had striven to open up the church to visitors.

The Revd Adrian Ling, Rector of All Saints’ South Lynn, writes:

“Even when the church was locked the west door was open to allow visitors to view the church interior from the glazed porch.

“The loss of the sound system (including the hearing aid loop equipment) was bad enough, but what was most distressing was that items loaned to the church for an exhibition on the First World War Memorial had been stolen, chiefly a medal awarded to Private Edwin Lambert, killed by a gas explosion on the Western Front. Edwin’s sister had loaned the medal to the church, it was the only reminder of a brother she had never met.

“The burglary took place within the space of 40 minutes at about 4.30pm, in daylight, and with people passing by. It was a desperate robbery that took items that looked shiny and expensive but actually had little monetary value.

“The perpetrators of the theft hurled a block of stone through the security toughened glass in the porch to gain entry. They had pulled the loose block of stone from the west front, underlining the parlous state of the external masonry which the church seeks to restore.

“The response of the police was immediate and effective. Forensic tests and examination of CCTV footage identified the thieves and led to the return of some of the sound equipment and, almost miraculously, the war medal.

“The police arranged for the medal to be restored and reribboned and returned to MrsRichards. It was worn for the first time by her son, Dr Paul Richards, the Lynn historian, in honour of his uncle on Remembrance Day.

“The robbery had caused outrage in the London Porterhouse Pub which has close links with All Saints’ Church. They held a quiz night which raised £200 for the church, which together with donations from other well-wishers enabled repairs be carried out without recourse to an insurance claim and a £500 excess charge.

“Geoff Freeman from the Diocese arranged for a local fi rm Audio Electronic Design Ltd to assess the sound system and advise on what was needed. They very generously provided a sound deck and re-installed the system free ofcharge.

“Darren Butler, MD of the company, said they were pleased to be of help and ensure the sound system was up and running for the Christmas services. He is a Lynn boy himself so his kindness has been very much appreciated.

“The burglars were given custodial sentences in January. We pray that they will accept the treatment they need to get off drugs, which was the underlying cause of the crime. Only one item has not been returned, The Soldier’s Small Book of Private Fred Giles, who died in Basra in 1916, which we would dearly like to return to his family.

“The doors of All Saints, ‘the hidden pearl’ of Kings Lynn have not been clasped shut but remain open following the burglary. We are very grateful for all the help and kindness we have received in the wake of the robbery.”

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