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Rutland village celebrates success of church trial to live with bats

A village church that took part in a £5m nationwide trail for churches to co-exist with bats has celebrated its success.

All Saints Church in Braunston held a ‘Beer and Bats’ night at the Blue Ball in Braunston to mark International bat Night as part of its celebrations.

Some 120 people turned up the pub, Rutland’s oldest, last Sunday evening.

The Beer and Bats night attracted a good crowd (15833409)
The Beer and Bats night attracted a good crowd (15833409)

The event featured talks on bats and how the church has worked to co-exist with them. Then, the people headed to All Saints Church see its bats roost and feed.

The talks were given by Rose Riddell, engagement officer for Bats in Churches, Ann Gleave of Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, plus Sue Willetts, church warden of All Saints Church.

Rose said: “It was a brilliant event and was very well received. We have learnt a lot from Braunston and the trial’s other churches.

“It’s not just bats but the bureaucracy around them. We will roll out what we have learned as the project matures.”

As reported previously, The 1000-year-old All Saints Church had previously suffered a many problems due to the faeces from its colony of 500 bats.

However, the bats could not be removed as they are a protected species.

The stench the bats caused led Rutland MP Sir Alan Duncan to call the situation ‘absolutely intolerable’, adding he had ‘never seen such a mess.’ In 2014, he raised the issue with the Church Commissioner in parliament.

All Saints Church then took part in a £5m nationwide trail, funded by the Heritage Lottery, which involved it and two other churches.

Studies were made to see how the both sides to live together, leading to All Saints to block some holes, which prevent the bats from messing in the church.

Mrs Willetts said: “It’s fantastic. The church is now a pleasant place to be.”

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