Breaking into a vicarage, chatting with Yorkshire-folk and walking a dog

My internship so far has consisted of three days spent in Bedale, and seven days work at home. Firstly, it was important that I fully understood what was required of me by St Gregory’s Church and the community. The Church is undergoing a huge redevelopment program, with an aim to make the space more versatile. My roles are the following:

  • Design a new wordpress based website, with a heritage section allowing interactive ‘drone-eye’ exploration of the grounds
  • Design websites for three charities working in the town, namely: a foodbank, debt advice service and bereavement befriending service
  • Write document for Church of England proposing technology installations to the interior of The Church. Full WiFi coverage, and retracting projector screens. Will allow the space to be used for public speaking, music performances, rehearsals etc. It is very important that the technology installations are discrete so as not to detract from the cultural authenticity of the building.

I met with a number of committee members, to try to understand what is desired from a new website. There is a resounding fear of change, many of the committee feeling uncomfortable about the idea of new technology. Many have been with the church for a very long time, but it’s important that the facilities can be enjoyed not only by long term users, but new visitors.

The current progress on the website can be seen at Most of the structure is built, with a few bugs needing squashing still. Before this project my web design knowledge was very basic, but I followed this course: which has been fantastic. A few days later I had a very good grounding in CSS styling, and could apply these skills to customising the chosen wordpress theme with my own design elements. The other challenge has been hosting the website. Rather than paying for a packaged solution on a shared server (easy to set up, but limited with functionality) I chose to use a virtual hosted server. This allows shell access to the server meaning I’m not in anyway limited with functionality of a typical ‘wordpress server’, and I can make quick fixes through SSH when I accidentally break the whole website with some dodgy PHP code.

I used my drone along with my handheld camera to capture the shots for the video at the top of the homepage. The full video can be found here: I’d never flown the drone inside before, and having one-of-a-kind artefacts within inches of the blades wasn’t the safest introduction either. I’m delighted with the results, especially the shot which pulls backwards from the stained glass through the middle of the church.

Going forward, I need to finish adding the content from the old church website to the new one. Then, I need to learn how I can create an interactive heritage section, with an interactive drone fly around app. I need to write the technology installation proposal for the Church of England, and build the charity websites. I’m confident I can finish all this on schedule, and will be back to Bedale for a couple more days to meet with the charity leadership teams to discuss their requirements.

Below are some photos from my adventures

I stayed with the rector and his wife (family friends). The rector accidentally locked us out of the house, so I used my ladder skills to save the day
Walking the rector’s dog ‘Oswald’, he doesn’t like walks
The town of Bedale, taken from the drone
St Gregory’s Church. The grounds are extensive and continue into the trees and beyond.

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