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East Anglia church paintings in London show

PUBLISHED: 13:07 02 April 2009 | UPDATED: 09:31 11 May 2010

A trio of Norfolk and Suffolk's most captivating churches have been hand-picked to feature in a series of original watercolours.

St Andrew's in Covehithe, near Southwold, is flying the flag for Suffolk in the Twelve Churches painting exhibition this week in London.

A trio of Norfolk and Suffolk's most captivating churches have been hand-picked to feature in a series of original watercolours.

St Andrew's in Covehithe, near Southwold, is flying the flag for Suffolk in the Twelve Churches painting exhibition this week in London. It features alongside watercolours of St Margaret's in Hales and St Mary's in West Walton, both in Norfolk.

The exhibition forms part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Churches Conservation Trust, and is being staged to raise awareness of the churches under its care.

The charity, which cares for 340 historic churches that are no longer used for regular worship, will use the proceeds from the sale of prints for the upkeep of its churches across England.

UK artist Gerard Stamp's water-colour collection depicts 12 magnifi-cent churches throughout the coun-try that are in the care of the trust.

His ghostly outline of St Andrew's captures one of Suffolk's disappearing treasures - the remains of the 14th century church are ever-closer to becoming another victim of the encroaching sea.

Within the ruins is a small chapel built in 1672, that is still used to this day. The church was sacked during the Civil War but sailors still navigate by the great 14th century west tower that looms over the ruins of the church. St Andrew's is cited as a source of inspiration by crime writer P D James, who has used it in a number of her novels.

Rebecca Rees, the trust's regional manager, said the trust opens up historic churches for everyday use, to drama groups, rock bands and in one case a circus school, and hoped the paintings would raise awareness.

"We encourage people to visit and also to use all our historic churches like St Andrew's," she said. "It is this everyday use that brings them back into the heart of the community and will ensure their survival for future generations."

Alongside the sale of the 12 original paintings, 100 limited edition prints of each watercolour can be bought, at £275 per print.

To buy a print visit www.visitchurches.org.uk

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