Festival of Churches officially launched

The inaugural Festival of Churches taking place across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcester saw its official launch this week.

More than 200 historic churches will open their doors across the three counties for special events over the weekend of 14 and 15 September.

"It's been several months of hard work but we think it's going to pay off," said Jenny Beard, spokesperson for Herefordshire Churches Tourism Group, one of organisations involved.

"The amazing thing is how imaginative and creative parishes are being."

Special events will include talks, seminars, guided tours, lunches, flower festivals, and the chance to try bellringing.

There are also bus tours being organised to take people to different events.

"People interested in local history for example should be able to plan a really great and entertaining weekend," said Beard.

"Many churches will have registers available or be featuring staffed exhibitions with knowledgeable people able to tell the story of their building.

"There will be food available everywhere over the weekend from the coffee morning to a curry lunch, and strawberry teas to barbeques so no-one should go hungry either."

Other groups helping to organise the Festival of Churches are the Shropshire Churches Tourism Group and the county Historic Churches Trust, which have been working with the Dioceses of Hereford, Lichfield and Worcester.

The festival is being held in part to raise funds for the Historic Churches Trust, which helps fund often costly repairs to church buildings.

To find out more about what's on during the festival visit http://www.festivalofchurches.co.uk/