A group of 11 churches in Andover’s ‘Pastrow Family’ are opening their doors again after the Government relaxed lockdown rules.

Places of worship have been shut since March 23 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

However, from this weekend (June 20) they will be allowed to open for private prayer with appropriate social distancing.

Most of the Pastrow churches will reopen as normal every day for private prayer.

The Pastrow Family of churches encompasses Charlton, Enham, Faccombe, Hatherden, Penton Mewsey, Smannell, Tangley Faccombe, Hurstbourne, Linkenholt, Vernham and Weyhill.

A system has been introduced inside the churches to maintain social distancing, as well as other measures which include hand sanitiser, Dettol wipes, signs and optional masks and gloves should people feel they need them.

Revd Alex Randle-Bissell, Vicar of the Pastrow Family, said: “It’s an encouraging sign that we’ve been able to reopen, and this first small step should help rebuild confidence and affirm hope that things can get back to some normality in the future.

“This move will be particularly valuable for those who have missed our beautiful buildings or have some special need for a time of solitude, peace, reflection and private prayer.

“In the meantime, some wonderful realities have emerged from all of this. Our churches have been very much alive with congregations meeting through livestreamed and recorded services to socials via online ‘coffee rooms’.

“Looking to the future, for those who are interested in exploring Christianity, we are even planning some online Alpha courses, starting from 29th June. Please visit our website to join us!”