The church was open to view on 31 occasions
Following two days devoted to cleaning the church and the setting up of displays, the church was regularly opened to the public on Thursday afternoons from May to mid-October, as well as on other occasions such as the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust's annual bicycle ride day and the Heritage Open Days. In addition, a number of specially arranged visits took place for adult students from the University of East Anglia and from local history societies from Norwich and Felixstowe and the Ipswich Archaeological Trust.
Over 900 visitors
All visitors seemed to be very appreciative of finding the church open and having the opportunity to enjoy such an attractive and important part of Ipswich's heritage. We were pleased to be able to welcome tourists from many parts of the UK, most western European countries and from the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, many coming in parties led by Blue Badge guides. There were also many visitors from the Ipswich area, including people from 'Over Stoke'who were pleased to recall associations with the life of the parish in former days and in some cases keen to contribute their memories for the benefit of the Over Stoke History Group.
Over 400 hours of volunteer effort
In addition to staffing the church during opening hours, a major task undertaken by volunteers has been the preparation and production of displays, guide books, leaflets, explanatory captions etc to draw attention to the wealth of architectural features and historic associations of St Peter's for the benefit of visitors. Jill Freestone of Over Stoke History Group has made an outstanding contribution to the research, production and mounting of this material, some of which was displayed on boards specially constructed by fellow Over Stoke member, Bob Blastock. Other volunteers have given freely of their time to help provide a welcoming atmosphere to visitors.
Plans for 2003
Volunteers are hopeful that a similar series of openings can be arranged for next year, and provisional arrangements have been made for Roy Tricker to conduct a guided tour of the church on what we hope will be the inaugural open day, Saturday 26 April.