Christian couple return to Norfolk to run centre

D  A Pritchard

2013: Letton Hall is a Christian conference centre set in the heart of Norfolk and the team who run the Hall day-to-day is led by Danny and Alison Pritchard who have returned to Norfolk after many years away from the county doing Christian work in Sussex. Helen Baldry reports.

Danny was a policeman in Norfolk between 1979 and 1984 and he and Alison established some strong roots in the Norfolk Christian community. After serving in North Walsham and Norwich Danny left the force in 1984 to head up the East Anglia Youth For Christ (YFC) Bus Project with Grantley Watkins, bringing much-needed support to youth work in rural areas of Norfolk. 

Following a call from God to work with young people in the community, Danny and Alison developed a team of volunteers working in the towns and villages of East Anglia. They ran the project for seven years before moving to East Sussex to work for British YFC in 1991.
They pioneered YFC ministry in the South East for several years after which Danny did his theological training and was ordained as a Baptist Minister.

They pastored churches in Mayfield, Battle and Brighton. During their time in East Sussex they were involved with the Christian conference centre at Ashburnham Place, where Danny was eventually a director. Unbeknownst to them at the time, the skills and knowledge developed around managing heritage buildings would be put to use in their new role as centre managers of Letton Hall in Norfolk.

Danny said, “The opportunity at Letton hall in Norfolk just came to us. We weren’t looking for it. It is a place we loved and years ago we brought several youth groups here.”

Danny and Alison became managers of Letton Hall in February 2013 and their aim is to build upon the great foundation already laid, providing a comfortable and welcomeing venue for Christian retreats and youth groups.

The timing was right for the Pritchards to return to Norfolk. Alison said, “We were at a place where we could make a significant geographical move without affecting our children.”

The couple have three grown-up children and two grandsons. They have stayed in touch with Norfolk over the years, especially through their passion for sailing in the Norfolk Broads.

Danny said, “It’s lovely to be back. We’ve enjoyed reconnecting with people.”

There are plans to develop the buildings at Letton and particularly to improve and increase the bathroom facilities. Letton Hall offers flexible accommodation and can cater for small groups right up to whole church retreats. They frequently host schools and Christian Union parties and the centre is an excellent venue for youth groups because of the extensive grounds and user-friendly buildings.  There is a go-kart track, games room, space for outdoor activities such as archery, orienteering and other activities in the ten acre grounds.

Letton Hall was architect Sir John Soane’s first full house commission and the building survives largely as Soane designed it, including the magnificent cantilever staircase. The centre is run by a Christian charitable trust set up by Peter and Mary Carroll after having a vision for a Christian Centre in the heart of Norfolk. Danny and Alison are keen to ensure that Letton Hall is still a blessing to the church and ministries in the future.

There are 14 staff at Letton Hall and an army of volunteers helping with tasks such as painting and gardening. It is a stately home with a welcoming feel to it – ‘A Big House with a Warm Heart’. Alison said, “Once people are through the door they feel totally at home.”

Network Norwich and Norfolk > Regional News > Mid Norfolk > Christian couple return to Norfolk to run centre
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