AFTER more than 13 years of fundraising, villagers in Grove are finally able to enjoy their new refurbished church.

Parishioners celebrated earlier this year when they reached their £330,000 target to revamp the Grove Methodist Church in Main Street for worshippers and community groups.

And six months of building work is now complete with a new meeting room, kitchen, toilets and storage area.

The Rev Martin Smithson led a weekend of celebratory events to mark the official opening.

He said: “At times, we weren’t sure this day would ever come.

“But we carried on and now we can all enjoy the benefits of this together.

“People are thrilled with it. They have been working towards this for so many years so it’s seeing the dream realised.”

On Saturday, villagers were invited to look around the new buildings before an official opening ceremony in the afternoon.

The church held a special service the following morning, before representatives from all the Methodist churches in the area got the chance to look round.

The Rev Smithson said: “We are very proud of these new facilities, so we wanted a busy weekend to show them off to everyone.

“You make all these plans, but you’re never sure how they’ll turn out – but everyone’s support has paid off.”

Dozens of fundraising events have been held over the past decade, along with donations from Methodist sources, businesses, the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust and the parish council.

The new extension is already being used by Rainbow and Guide groups and for pilates classes, slimming classes and dance lessons.

Rev Smithson said: “The main thing is this new meeting room, which we have never had before.

“The whole place is now wheelchair-accessible and we’ve got the brand new kitchen too.

“A lot of groups already used the church, so they will now get the immediate benefit of everything new.

“But we hope the whole community will now see this as the centre of their community and the doors are open to everyone.

“It’s fantastic that this day has finally arrived.”