The Friends of St James the Great, Thorley

Chairman's Report to the

Annual General Meeting

held on Friday, 8 March 2002


  Thank you all for coming this evening and for your support throughout the year.

The Committee has worked hard on our behalf during the year and I am sure you would like me to pass on your thanks to them.

The year 2001 was a year of milestones for the Friends of St James. The August Bank Holiday weekend heralded the fifteenth in the highly successful annual series of Festivals of Flowers and Music. The 2001 Festival, as well as once again being our most important social and outreach event of the year, proved to be the most financially successful to date. The year also saw the total money raised by the Friends since the foundation of the Association pass the 75,000 and the total money spent the 67,000 mark. The largest single grant to date was made to the Parochial Church Council, 25,000 towards the first phase of restoration of the Tower. By the end of the year we were able to commit a further 6,000 towards the next phase of this most important project.

The Quiz Evening in November and the provision of Sunday Afternoon Teas during the summer months completed our diary for 2001. Adrian will cover the financial aspects of all these events in his report. The Committee is grateful to John Loadman for ensuring the continuance of the long running series of extremely popular Quiz Evenings. This year's event will be held on Saturday 16th November. The Friends hope once again to be able to offer Sunday Afternoon Teas during 2002, starting on the first Sunday after Easter and continuing until the last Sunday in October. To make this possible we urgently need volunteers to prepare and serve teas on individual Sundays and, more importantly, to take responsibility for organising rotas for each of the months of June, August, September and October. Please contact any of the Committee members if you are able to help.

This year there is an additional event in the Friends' diary. Bill Hardy has kindly offered to present an illustrated talk entitled 'Fascinating Facts about our Barn'. This will take place on Saturday 27th April, with cheese and wine being served during the interval. Please make a note of this date in your diary.

The Committee continues to be indebted to Max Streets and his small team of supporters for ensuring the orderly appearance of the Churchyard. More volunteers are needed to lighten the load. If you can help at the monthly sessions please let Max or any of the Committee members know.

During the year much material has been added to the Friends' Website. The section entitled 'From the Thorley Archives' has been enlarged with the inclusion of many more articles by Bill Hardy. The next significant step in the development of the site will be the inclusion of the complete database of Churchyard monumental inscriptions recorded last summer. Take a look at the website and you will find a taste of what is to come.

I would like to end by thanking Adrian, our Treasurer, and Margaret, our Vice Chairman and indeed all the members of the Committee, for their help and support during the past year. On behalf of the Committee, and myself I would also like to thank you all for the support you have given us.

Next year heralds yet another milestone for the Friends of St James, the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of the Association. It was at a meeting on 21st February 1983 that a small Committee under Compton Whitworth adopted a constitution that had been drawn up by Alan Cole, then Rector of St James the Great, based on that of the Friends of St Michael's, Bishop's Stortford. The rest, as they say, is history.


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