Archdeacon praises community of Crewe

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The Archdeacon of Macclesfield has praised the community in Crewe following the fire at Beechmere care home last week.  

The Ven Ian Bishop said the response from residents and local organisations had been "wonderful”.  

Speaking to BBC Radio Stoke, he said: “We see that in a town like Crewe, there really is a sense of community and cohesion. When there’s a crisis they always seem to respond and I know that from what I've seen in all the churches in Crewe when they see a need they roll up their sleeves and get to it as I’m sure that’s where Jesus would be.” 

The Archdeacon was making the comments to BBC Radio Stoke on Sunday morning. About 150 residents were evacuated on Thursday afternoon when the fire took hold. 

Reflecting on the trauma experienced by those who had to flee the building and lost their homes and possessions, the Archdeacon expressed his sympathy: “It's an enormous personal tragedy for them. The footage that we’ve seen on social media and so forth has been shocking. How do you understand what people are going through when they lost those things that are most dear to them? I don’t know how you pick up from that. I just hope that they’ve got lots of love and care around them. I do feel for them deeply. I hope that they have landed in some happy places but it’s not what they’ve dreamed of I’m quite sure of that. All our thoughts and prayers are with them.” 

Churches Together in Crewe responded quickly to the unfolding situation. Appeals for donations, volunteers and prayer quickly circulated around the community and on social media. At one point over the weekend, volunteers were struggling to coordinate and organise the donations due to the overwhelming response.  

The Archdeacon said it was something very precious to see communities respond with such an outpouring of love: “I do think there is something very precious in a community like Crewe, which we all know has its challenges, that people have given so deeply to the extent that they couldn’t cope with the gifts that were coming. I look at that and think my goodness there is wonderful community in this country and I’m glad to say that churches are still very much at the heart of that.” 


Listen to Archdeacon Ian speak with BBC Radio Stoke

Parts of the care home collapsed - Credit Cheshire Fire Service

The Revd Catherine Cleghorn is a curate at St Andrew’s, All Saint’s and St Peter’s churches in Crewe and spent the weekend meeting residents and helping to coordinate the church response. She said that local churches were quickly able to offer their services to the local council: “We got in touch with Cheshire East and Crewe Town Council and offered our services in any way. We gathered volunteers and we gathered people to donate things, and we got down to praying as well. We got the word out to our congregations about the things that needed praying for and collected and donated and people have been incredibly generous in terms of their response.” 

Catherine described meeting some of the residents as they came to collect some of the items that had been donated. She said: "They just seemed absolutely distraught and in a state of shock. I think it will take a while for what's happened to really sink in and to know what the lasting effect will be on their lives and the lives of their family and friends as well.” 

Reflecting on the mood of the town, Catherine said: “In terms of Crewe’s feelings about itself and its people it's really, really positive because people have responded so well to the situation and in overwhelming ways that just weren’t expected. The people of Crewe are amazing.” 

Listen to the Revd Catherine Cleghorn speak with BBC Radio Stoke