Fr Mark and Bishop Egan are very keen to thank everyone for their kind wishes and offers of help, which have been overwhelming. There has been so much love and emotion flowing from everyone, not only parishioners but the whole of the local community. We would like to thank so many people it would be difficult to note all the individuals, but particularly the Fire Brigades, Police, Investigation Teams and the ambulance crews (which fortunately were not needed in this instance). Bishop Challoner School for the use of their school hall for Masses for the next few weeks and their wonderful caretakers who have been helping secure the church windows and doors etc. Our cleaners who are kindly coming in tomorrow to attempt to remove the soot from the Foyer, Kitchen & WC areas so that we can hopefully still go ahead with ‘Holiday at Home’ next Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. Members of our Maintenance team who have been back and forth helping move things and return things to their proper places.
We would ask if you can to please attend Mass at any of the other Catholic churches in our Pastoral Area for the next few weekends – mainly as we are limited to space within the school hall. We will still have Masses at 6pm on Saturday evening and 9am and 11am on Sunday morning. Our week day Masses will continue to be at 9.15am daily but again in the school hall.
We will keep you posted with regard progress once we have met with the Insurance Assessor and have an estimate of time scales. Thank you so much again for everything – one thing we cannot ever doubt is the sense of community and love in our Parish.
We have launched an arson investigation after a fire at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, in St Michael’s Road, South Ham, Basingstoke.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to a fire in a shed located near the church at around 7.15pm on Wednesday, July 27.
The fire spread from the shed to the church, causing significant damage to the roof and exterior of the building.
No-one was injured in the fire.
Officers will remain at the scene this morning while investigators try to establish the exact circumstances of what happened.
While the investigation is at an early stage, there is no suggestion that this was a targeted attack on the church.
A 13-year-old boy and 14-year-old boy, both from Basingstoke, have been arrested on suspicion of arson.
They have been bailed to appear on Wednesday, September 28, pending further enquiries.
Anyone with information should contact the Northern Investigation team on 101, quoting 44160280915.