BILL Nighy and Joanna Lumley are among a host of celebrities who have contributed to an audio guide for Fairford Church.
The church contains the most complete set of stained glass windows to be found anywhere in England and, last week, a free audio guide was launched featuring many well-known voices.
Visitors to St Mary’s Church, built in 1497 and the focus of a 25-year conservation and restoration programme completed four years ago, will now have the opportunity to enjoy the building with the aid of a two-hour audio guide boasting the voices of celebrities such as Alan Rickman, Joanna Lumley and Jon Snow, along with those of local people.
The 28 windows at St Mary’s were described by chairman of the National Trust Simon Jenkins as one of the country’s “outstanding galleries of church art,” while the late Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman gushed that he would take the lower half of the Great West Window as his luxury to a desert island on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
With local contributions from Geoff Hawkes and Nicolas Kent, the guide was written by Denys Hodson, who lived in Fairford, but died in January 2013 before the guide was finished. but, In a fitting tribute, the complete product is dedicated to his memory.
The audio guide has been funded by the Friends of St Mary’s Church and is operated by the volunteer stewards who welcome visitors to the church every day without charge. Donations welcome.