AN 18TH century chapel in North Wiltshire was alive with the sound of music on Sunday (Dec 20) for the first time in more than 30 years following a remarkable revival.

About 70 people, including many in Victorian costume, took part in a carol service at Grittleton Strict Baptist Chapel, which was closed in 1982 after its congregation dwindled to four people.

Unloved and encircled by waist-high brambles and nettles, the Grade II-listed structure seemed destined to never again be used by the community for which it was built.

However, two years ago Sue Hull, of nearby Corston, came across the chapel while researching her family history and discovered that her great-great-great- grandparents were buried there.

Aided by volunteers she initiated a project to bring it back into use and her efforts were rewarded on Sunday when people once more filed into the chapel for the first service in 33 years.

She said: “It was a lovely occasion and very emotional for me. It was the first time there had been any number of people in the chapel probably since the 70s.

“I got the feeling that the chapel felt good about itself after so long. It was almost as if it was grateful that people were there again.”

Miss Hull has been working with the Historic Chapels Trust which carried out some minor repairs and installed new gates in 2011 and also launched a “friends” group to help with its restoration.

She said the churchyard had become so overgrown that people had to “fight their way through” before she and her band of volunteers began their painstaking clear-up operation nearly two years ago.

Surrounded by garlands of flowers hanging from the balconies the choir at Sunday’s historic service wore Victorian costumes, as did others who attended.

“I’d like the chapel to be associated with Victorian costumes for future services,” said Miss Hull. She is keen to see the building host a number of other functions as its restoration continues over the years to come.

She is launching a Facebook site and said that after Sunday’s one hour and ten minute service several people signed up to her Friends of Grittleton Chapel group.

Anyone wishing to volunteer can contact Miss Hull on: 07827-899617