A NEW exhibition and competition exploring Redditch’s spiritual journey from 'field to factory' will be officially launched in June

The project, which has been organised jointly between Webheath Digital Photographic Club and St Stephen's Church, will look at how Redditch moved from agriculture and into industry.

Using photography, members of U3A photography group, Redditch U3A, Redditch History Society and Webheath Digital Photographic Society have been tasked with capturing Redditch’s evolution visually.

Elaine Whitfield, from St Stephens Church, said: "Armed with the remit that Redditch is a town that was, in its early days, a farming community clustered around the Cistercian Monastery of Bordesley Abbey.

"The original St Stephen's Church was the gatehouse chapel of the Abbey, the ruins of which can still be seen today and this was where the local farming community went to worship.

"As the community became more industrial and following the reformation, the focus of Redditch and St Stephen's moved up the hill to Church Green.

"The passion of the Victorians gave us much of what we still see today.

"A town centre developed by the needle and fishing tackle manufacturers of our town.

"The challenge now, is to photographically explore that journey.

"A journey from Bordesley Abbey to the surrounding villages of Tardebigge, Beoley and Ipsley to Church Green Redditch and St Stephen's Church.

A journey from Field to Factory, a journey of activity and faith. A journey viewed through today's images."

Webheath Digital Photography Club competition secretary Dennis Moore added: "From the beginning we wanted to take this activity in to the community, involving the community with photographs of the community and we are delighted that Rev Paul Lawlor has shown an enthusiastic level of support for this project."

The resulting prints and digital images will be exhibited in St Stephen's Church on Thursday, June 29.

They will be judged by Rev Paul Lawlor and Michael Krier of Cheltenham Camera Club. The winning entries will be awarded the St Stephen's Cup.

The exhibition will then move into the Kingfisher Shopping Centre on Saturday, July 1 until Monday, July 3 and there will be an opportunity for people to view and purchase prints.