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Cambridgeshire church stained glass depicts Covid-19 scenes

A church is thought to be the first in the UK to have a stained glass window depicting scenes from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The stained glass is on the north nave window by the pulpit. Photo: Martyn Postle

Whittlesford parish church, in Cambridgeshire, commissioned the £20,000 artwork to mark 1,000 years since the church was first built.

Scenes within the stained glass include doctors working in PPE and a woman delivering shopping to an elderly man.

The window's project team said they wanted it to be a beacon of hope.

The installation at St Mary and St Andrew's Church was completed in July.

The Reverend Alasdair Coles, 56, said they came up with the idea of a stained glass window in the autumn of 2020, at the height of the pandemic.

"We decided very quickly to make the theme of it about caring, to honour the caring people that we'd seen during the pandemic, both professionally, but also by people in the village who were looking after one another," he said.

Mr Coles set-up a village committee to support the project and interview potential artists.

Children from nearby William Westley Church of England Primary School were also drafted-in to help with the window's design.

The stained glass window captures many scenes that became familiar in communities during the height of the pandemic. Photo: Martyn Postle

Artist Benjamin Finn, who's been working with stained glass for more than 30 years, said the commission involved an "enormous" amount of work.

"It was one of the best things I've done," he said. "It was one of the hardest too.

"A lot of the imagery that I've used [in the past] has been more explicitly religious. But in a way, this was slightly more secular... but it still has meaning in a Christian context."

Mr Finn, who is 59 and from Essex, designed, manufactured and installed the window.

It features glass from five countries around the world including Italy and Germany.

Whittlesford Parish Church marked its 1,000th anniversary in 2022. Photo: Martyn Postle

Mr Coles said the money raised to fund the project came from the people of Whittlesford village.

He added: "We want people to be encouraged by the examples of caring that they see in the window.

"But also be encouraged more deeply by the thought that whatever you're going through personally, or what we're going through as a village, country or world - there is hope."


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