People paying their respects to Prince Philip at St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton

TAUNTON’S civic church will be opening its doors for people to pay their respects following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh

St Mary Magdalene’s, which has been closed to the public since Christmas Day, will be open today (Saturday, April 10) from 8.30am until 6pm to allow people to light a candle or sign a book of condolence.

The vicar of St Mary’s, the Rev Tobie Osmond, says “The Duke was held in high regard by many.

“We understand that people will want to mark his passing and it seemed proper that we should reopen the church building despite the present problems caused by Covid-19.

“The church building will be open to the public on each of the eight days of National mourning, though we may vary the exact hours depending on demand. There will be an opportunity to light a candle and to sign a book of condolence.”

To minimise risk, entry will be via the main West Door (under the tower) and, following a one-way system, exit will be through the South Door.

Stewards will be on duty to guide and assist visitors.

Everyone is required to wear a mask while queuing to enter and while in the building, unless exempt under government regulations.

Equally everyone is asked to sanitise their hands on entering the church.

People are asked to respect social distancing and remain two metres from others whenever possible.

There will be a civic memorial service held in Wells Cathedral.

In due course there will be an appropriate opportunity for the county to give thanks for the Duke’s life.

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