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Controversial dean launches appeal

PUBLISHED: 11:04 27 August 2009 | UPDATED: 17:05 25 August 2010

A CONTROVERSIAL cleric will launch a major appeal to refurbish a chapel at his former church.

A CONTROVERSIAL cleric will launch a major appeal to refurbish a chapel at his former church.

The Very Reverend Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, rocked the Church of England by being the first openly gay priest to be nominated as a bishop. He will return to his former parish, Holy Trinity Church in Eltham, this Sunday.

Dr John will launch an appeal to refurbish the Gallipoli Chapel which will coincide with the 140th anniversary of the church in Southend Crescent. He will preach at the 10am service.

Some £60,000 needs to be raised to restore the chapel, built in 1920 as a permanent memorial to those who fell in the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915. More recently, a memorial was placed in the chapel in remembrance of Lance Corporal Jake Alderton, who was killed in Afghanistan in November 2007. Parish priest Father Brett Ward said he hoped to attract corporate and individual sponsorship for particular projects. He added: "Restoring the chapel and the facilities associated with it will have many benefits.

"Not least it maintains this as a special space which reminds those affected by conflict that their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their loved ones, friends and colleagues is not forgotten.

"It also enables this significant memorial to be a place of welcome to the many local and international visitors who find their way here."

The chapel has attracted many high-profile visitors over the years, including Prince Philip and the Turkish Ambassador. Funding is needed by 2012 so work can be completed for the Gallipoli Centenary in April 2015.

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