Hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses from across the country are flocking to St Ann’s to build a place of worship on the site of a former pub. PDF Print E-mail

The site of the former Sycamore Inn pub in Hungerhill Road is currently being turned in to a meeting hall for the Christian sect, with work due to finish by the end of February.

However almost every stage of the building, from design to putting in the windows, is being done by unpaid volunteers – 450 of them in total.

Adam Byrnes, 35, of St Ann’s, a cleaning business owner who has been helping out three days a week, said: “It is absolutely amazing to see people volunteering to build our church.

“We have been waiting for a purpose-built church since before I joined nine years ago.

“I have no construction experience but I am being trained in everything. The ones who are more experienced train everybody up and they’re really patient.

“It’s challenging but we’re learning in a good environment.

“I am definitely looking forward to being in the new building.”

Some of them have come from as far afield as the Isle of Skye in Scotland and Truro in Cornwall to help build a place of worship –known as a Kingdom Hall - for Nottingham’s congregations.

Allister Dryden, a 49-year-old painter and decorator who has 15 years’ experience on similar projects around the country and abroad, came from Truro on December 18 with his wife Esther.

He said: “I am having a good time, despite the weather.

Work continues at the new Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall

“There is a sense of building excitement towards the end, it will be a really lovely moment when you see them come in and appreciate what has been done. That is really satisfying.

“I expect there will be a few tears, it’s a bit like DIY SOS.

“There is more to life than just going to work to pay the bills.”
(L- R) Mark Jones, 36 and Jo Jones, 30 of North Wales pictured alongside Hannah Spelman, 30 and Tim Spelman, 35 of Norwich, on site 

Many of these volunteers are trained in the skills needed to put up a building and are being housed by members of three local congregations – Nottingham Central, Sycamore Park and Nottingham Polish – who are also lending a hand.

They have been working on the site since September and will undertake every part of the construction apart from laying the tarmac for the car park.

This is the culmination of many years’ work, with the Nottingham Central congregation waiting to move out of their rented accommodation on Bath Street since they formed in 1981.

Planning permission for the single-storey building was granted by Nottingham City Council in 2014 and the pub was demolished in the same year.

In charge is 36-year-old Mark Jones, a professional site manager from Deeside in North Wales who has been offering his services for free full-time to the church for the past four years.

He said: “If we can avoid using contractors and instead use our own skill it benefits the cause.

“The fact that there are so many people willing to sacrifice their own time and resources to help one another is incredible and faith strengthening.

“Doing this is absolutely fabulous, especially this one as they have waited so long for it.”