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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 May, 2003, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Blow-up church goes on show
A wedding ceremony in the church
The church has room for 60 people standing

The world's first inflatable church went on display to the public for the first time on Tuesday.

The blow-up church, which is 47 feet (14.3 metres) high from ground to steeple, 47 feet long and 25 feet (7.6 metres) wide, includes a blow-up organ, altar, pulpit, pews, candles and "stained glass" windows.

The church, produced by Michael Gill of InnovationsUK.com Ltd in Sarisbury Green, near Southampton, was on display at the National Christian Resources Exhibition at Sandown Park Exhibition Centre in Esher, Surrey.

Mr Gill told BBC News Online: "I wanted to launch it at the Christian Resource Centre so I could get the stamp of approval of the Christian sector.

"That is key to the product and how it is perceived.

The inflatable church
Orders for the church have been received from over 20 countries

"It could have been easy to have upset a large part of the human race with this but the reaction so far has been absolutely phenomenal."

The inflatable church, which holds 60 people standing, was to be dedicated by Michael Elfred, a Church of England minister from Tadworth.

Brett Pitchfork, events manager of the Christian Resources Exhibition, said: "There has been huge interest in Mike's creation.

"We are delighted to launch it at an exhibition often dubbed the 'ideal church show' and dedicated to bringing the best in new resources to churches of all kinds.

"One of our central themes this year is the "World of Worship" - and we intend to make best use of this intriguing new venue for creative praise."

Mr Gill, who now has plans to create an inflatable pub, has already had inquiries for purchase and hire of the church from more than 20 different countries.

It is envisaged that the church will be used for novelty weddings and other functions.




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