£22,000 in donations for 500-year-old church trashed by New Year’s Eve ravers

Mike Bedigan, PA

Members of a conservation group supporting a 500-year-old church that was trashed during an illegal rave on New Year’s Eve say they have been “blown away” after receiving more than £22,000 in donations to help with repairs.

Hundreds of party-goers attended the event at Grade II* listed All Saints Church in East Horndon, Essex, and three people were arrested.

Essex Police said organisers set up DJ decks, a bar, and even hired portable toilets for revellers.

Damage to All Saints East Horndon
All Saints in East Horndon (Friends of All Saints East Horndon/PA)

Volunteers said the ravers smashed a window, wired sound equipment into the church’s fuse box and churned up the ground outside with vans, causing around £1,000 of damage.

A month later the Friends of All Saints group said £22,254 has been raised by members of the public to help with clean-up operations and repairs.

Astrid Gillespie, 48, a volunteer for the Friends of All Saints, said: “We are completely blown away by the public’s generosity and support following the illegal rave and at such a difficult time for everyone.

“The amount of money raised is completely unbelievable and we are so grateful.

Damage to All Saints East Horndon
The clean up operation at All Saints in East Horndon (Friends of All Saints East Horndon/PA)

“The clean-up and repairs have started, and we are looking forward to being able to carry out other repairs that would have had to wait years otherwise.

“We are looking forward to being able to hold a rededication service and open day to invite everyone in and share this beautiful historic building with the community when we are able to.”

Friends of All Saints said 80% of donations had been passed on to the Churches Conservation Trust for the repairs and 20% would be kept by the organisation for future maintenance of church grounds.

On the night of the incident officers reported having objects thrown at them as they attempted to disperse crowds and three men were arrested for drug possession and offences under coronavirus regulations.