Bargain Hunt and Flog It! auctioneer heartbroken as family church destroyed in fire

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Police now fear it may have been torched in an arson attack. A teenager has been arrested over the blaze. Charles tweeted: “I married here, loved ones are buried here and a church so rich in history over 800 years brought joy to many. It witnessed so much, survived so much until this. I hope not a cruel act of arson.” He added: “One of the finest church interiors you will ever see and sadly lost today. My church, All Saints Mackworth, is gone. Thank you for enriching us all for almost 1,000 years.

“If arson and likely, I am lost for words. What in mankind could have done this and for what reason (?).”

Dramatic pictures show All Saints’ Church in Mackworth, Derbyshire, fully ablaze at 4.30pm on Thursday while six fire crews battle to bring the flames under control.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said the roof had collapsed and the interior was “extensively damaged” as they tried to save the exterior shell of the chapel.

Firefighters were there until 2am yesterday and an investigation has begun into how and where the blaze started. It follows a spate of suspected arson attacks at schools and churches in the area over the past few months.

Clive Stanbrook, the fire service’s area manager, said: “It is tragic for the area. By the time firefighters arrived the church had suffered extensive structural damage.

“Firefighters were there for several hours damping down making sure it was not going to reignite.

“We will now begin the long process of the fire investigation and we will go back with the police and start looking at every possibility.”

Vicar Jacqueline Stober said: “I am absolutely devastated. It’s a terrible thing that has happened. It’s an absolutely beautiful church.

“This year we were planning on celebrating its 700th anniversary but we had to delay that because of Covid. I can guarantee that worship has happened here for a thousand years and there will be worship here for the next one thousand years.”

Derbyshire Police said yesterday an arrest had been made over the church fire.

A police spokesman said: “A teenage boy from the Derby area has been arrested on suspicion of arson in relation to the incident.

“There is no evidence to link this incident to any of the other incidents in the city. However, we are keeping an open mind.”

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