Twineham Christmas church concert cancelled due to smoke

A serious case of holy smoke forced a church to cancel its Christmas concert at the eleventh hour.

The eerie sight of smoke billowing up from graves led to the cancellation of the traditional songs of praise for Christmas event at St Peter’s Church in Church Lane, Twineham.

In a scene straight out of a Hammer Horror film, the church’s graveyard began filling up with smoke following a fault with electrical cabling several feet below the sacred ground.


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Engineers worked overnight for two days to restore the fault and bring light back to the village church near Burgess Hill in time for Christmas.

The fault was noticed on Tuesday morning at the church just hours before the concert was due to begin at 8pm that evening.

UK Power Network engineers were called out to the problem and worked through the next two nights to restore the power in time for a Sung Eucharist service on Sunday and Midnight Mass on tomorrow.

It is the second year running that the church has had to cancel the Christmas concert after last year heavy rains made the access road up to the church impassable.

Paul Wells, who has been warden at St Peter’s since April, said: “We couldn’t have electricity in the church and the service guys were working through the night so we had to quickly and disappointingly call it off.

“It had been noticed that the ground was warm over the last couple of weeks but when we saw the smoke I thought that looks like a problem and we rang UK Power Networks straight away.

“The UK Power Network guys have been absolutely superb, they worked through Tuesday and Wednesday night when it was pretty foul weather.

“They couldn’t follow the cables back to the mains because it ran pretty close to some graves and that would have been disrespectful so they agreed to put in a brand new mains for us.

“Was it spooky? It was certainly unusual.”

A UK Power Networks spokeswoman said: “Engineers made the cable safe and isolated power supplies to the church during repairs.

“Supply was interrupted at 5.16pm and power was restored via a generator shortly before 1am on Wednesday December 18. Engineers later renewed 60 metres of cable and the generator was removed at 4.31am on December 19 when the customer was restored to the normal network. We appreciate how difficult it can be to lose power and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by this incident.”

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