Plaque to honour the man who saved chapel

Chapel opening ANL-150403-102919001
Chapel opening ANL-150403-102919001

A plaque in memory of the late Cllr John Palmer has been unveiled in the Soham North Chapel which he was instrumental in rescuing from demolition.

Cllr Palmer’s family attended the unveiling at Soham Cemetery on Sunday which was done by Lady Linda Vane Percy from Island Hall, Godmanchester.

He was chairman of the Soham North Chapel Trust which secured thousands to restore the rare building, one of the few dissimilar chapels in the country.

These were built in pairs offering C of E and non-denominational congregations places of worship in separate chapels.

The north chapel is now used for a place of quiet reflection and memorial plaques to loved ones adorn its walls thanks to the endeavours of the charitable trust which looks after the building.

His son Andrew, who owns Palmers Fruit Shop in the town, said: “He did a lot of things for the community so it is nice that he has been recognised.”

Along with Timothy Clark, trust treasurer and now chairman, Cllr Palmer campaigned during the 90s to save the chapel after the town council decided to demolish the building which had been used as a tractor store.

In the early 1990s a petition signed by 800 people in Soham was submitted to the town council to try and save the building. Cllr Palmer intervened and it received Grade Two listing from English Heritage.

Mr Clark helped secure a Heritage Lottery grant of £30,000 which was matched by East Cambridgeshire District Council. The plaque to Cllr Palmer, who died last year aged 85, reads: ‘Protector and good friend of this chapel.’