Easter events centre around launch of CD to help maintain St Giles church

This Is Wiltshire: Neil Skelton at St Giles Church with the CD the Ghosts of Old Imber       (TP48664) By Trevor Porter Neil Skelton at St Giles Church with the CD the Ghosts of Old Imber (TP48664) By Trevor Porter

Almost 4,000 visitors descended on the deserted village of Imber to look around its historic St Giles church and attend the launch of a charity CD to raise money for its upkeep.

The 14th century church, which is opened to the public on select days each year, welcomed visitors from Good Friday to Easter Monday.

On Saturday it hosted a folk concert for the launch of the CD The Ghosts of Imber by Pewsey folk band the Yirdbards. It was written recorded at the church.

St Giles custodian Neil Skelton said: “Apart from Sunday, the weather was really good to us. The CD was launched on the Saturday and The Yirdbards performed a special concert which went down really well. We were selling the CD at the church when it was open and it will now be sold at a store in Warminster.

“We also had Easter egg hunts for the children on the Sunday and Monday and people were able to enjoy the exhibitions about the village and its history which we always have in the church.

“There were quite a few people who had been before, but it’s always surprising how people who live nearby and haven’t been before come along. We will be shut now until August when hopefully The Yirdbards will be returning.”

The village of Imber was evacuated by the War Office in 1943, when it was selected as a military training facility. Villagers were forced to abandon their homes and while it is still owned by the Ministry of Defence, it is opened to the public on select days each year.

The Easter events concluded with ringers from Exeter Cathedral playing a full peal on the church bells on Monday, which lasted two-and-a-half hours.

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