Church festival is one of the largest of its kind in Europe

All Saints in Gainsborough
All Saints in Gainsborough
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One of the largest festivals of its kind in Europe, and now in its 21st year, the West Lindsey Churches Festival sees a host of churches and chapels opening their doors to visitors next month.

This year you will be able to visit 95 buildings, including All Saints, Gainsborough Cemeteries and Chapel, The Friends Meeting House, St Thomas of Canterbury and United Reformed Church.

All with free-entry, each building offers a memorable encounter with heritage and architecture.

The event also brings people together in their rural communities as they plan and prepare for visitors, offering homemade bakes and lunches, bell ringing, crafts, book sales and themed exhibitions such as displays on local history or children’s artwork.

More than 700 volunteers spruce up and open up the buildings, and are on hand to answer questions and point out those quirky details visitors would not want to miss.

In the past three years, thanks to funding from West Lindsey District Council, the festival has been able to add professional marketing skills to the efforts of the hardworking volunteers.

This work includes a re-launch of the website, professional photographs, an animated YouTube trailer and a full embrace of social media, including Twitter, Facebook and now Instagram.

Festival chair Paul Howitt-Cowan said: “The aim was to start attracting a younger audience and bringing in visitors from outside of Lincolnshire.

“But not at the expense of our established audience, though. People can still find out about the festival in the press or on the radio, and thanks to the sponsorship of long standing festival supporter Systematic Print, we have a 48-page printed brochure for everyone that likes to sit in a comfy chair and turn over real pages.

“The online work was just a deliberate plan to widen the net, and it has worked.”

This year festival is taking place on the weekends of May 13 and 14, and 20 and 21.

For more information of what each church is offering can be found on the festival website at www.churchesfestival.info.