Brentwood Tudor church damaged in illegal New Year's Eve party raises nearly £20,000 for repairs

Essex Police

The aftermath at All Saints Church, East Horndon. - Credit: Essex Police

After a Tudor church was hijacked for a New Year's Eve rave and left with thousands of pounds worth of damage, the community have raised nearly £20,000 for repairs in a matter of days -  smashing the original target of £2,000.

Astrid Gillespie

The 500-year-old church, with the surrounding ground dug up due to revellers. - Credit: Astrid Gillespie

The plight of the historic church in East Horndon has drawn attention from the nation's media as well as from abroad, says Astrid Gillespie, who heads up Friends of All Saints Church.

"My heart just sank," she explains on finding out about the incident. "I found out when I woke up on New Year's Day, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

Essex, UK. 5th January 2021. Inside the 500 year old All Saints Church in East Horndon, Essex, which

Inside the 500-year-old All Saints Church in East Horndon, Essex, which was ransacked on New Year's Eve by around 400 people attending an illegal rave. - Credit: Ricci Fothergill

"I called the rector, Paul Hamilton, we went down and police were still loading up equipment. It looked like a festival had taken place there."

Essex Police

Party lights abandoned in the church. - Credit: Essex Police

Essex Police say hundreds attended in breach of coronavirus restrictions and that objects were thrown at officers while they tried to shut the party down. Three people were arrested on suspicion of drugs and public order offences, music equipment was seized and police continue to try to trace the organisers, and another on suspicion of burglary.


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An illegal copy of the keys to the church was taken, which will involve a new bespoke lock being fitted, at a cost of £1,000. A window was broken and used for an air extraction, the walls were damaged when blacking out the windows, and the electrics were tampered with to power their equipment. There was also evidence of drug use,  rubbish everywhere, gas canisters and the surrounding ground was dug up.

Essex Police

The DJ booth. - Credit: Essex Police

Essex, UK. 5th January 2021. Inside the 500 year old All Saints Church in East Horndon, Essex, which

Entrance to the church before the clean up. - Credit: Ricci Fothergill

"We worked out we needed around £2,000 to repair all the damage but with Christmas just gone and everything that's happened this year, I started with £1,000. I was amazed to have passed it in just one hour and £2,000 in two hours!

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"The feeling of love and support from the public was absolutely overwhelming and it's still coming in, as well as loads of messages of support."

Essex, UK. 5th January 2021. Inside the 500 year old All Saints Church in East Horndon, Essex, which

Empty nitrous oxide pellets. - Credit: Ricci Fothergill

With an extra £18,000, the team are now working with The Churches Conservation Trust to work out a repair list for projects they would

have only hoped to complete in many years, including new plastering on the ceiling, relining the walls, and attending to the graves swamped by brambles and plants.



Chief Inspector Richard Melton of Essex Police said: “It is the reckless minority of people who organise and attend unauthorised events of this kind that risk spreading Covid-19 and jeopardising the efforts of the majority of people who are doing the right thing.

Astrid Gillespie

A window, smashed through to allow an air vent. - Credit: Astrid Gillespie

"Where they refuse to, as in the cases on New Year’s Eve, we will not hesitate to issue fines and seize equipment.

Essex, UK. 5th January 2021. Inside the 500 year old All Saints Church in East Horndon, Essex, which

A poster detailing drinks on offer. - Credit: Ricci Fothergill

“I’d urge anyone who is considering attending events like this to think about the risk they pose not only to themselves but to their loved ones, and the wider impact that the spread of the virus has on our communities.”

Essex, UK. 5th January 2021. Inside the 500 year old All Saints Church in East Horndon, Essex, which

Turned over tables and left over beer. - Credit: Ricci Fothergill


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