The Friends of St James the Great, Thorley

Chairman's Report to the

Annual General Meeting

held on Friday, 9 March 2007

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

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

We were sad to learn of the death of two of our longstanding members during the course of the last year, Audrey Childs and Compton Whitworth. As many of you will know, Compton was the founding chairman of the Friends who continued in that role for seven years until 1990.

The Friends' key outreach and fundraising events during 2006 were the provision of Sunday afternoon teas in the Church Room from the first Sunday after Easter until the end of British Summer Time, the Festival of Flowers and Music over the August Bank Holiday weekend and the Quiz Evening in October.

We were indebted to Nigel Rixson and his small team of helpers for ensuring the orderly appearance of the Churchyard throughout the year.

The theme for the 2006 Festival was 'Encounters with Jesus', and it had as its financial objective the funding of the power washing, re-rendering and re-decoration of the exterior of the Church. In addition to the many popular attractions of recent years, the programme also included 'Musical Mystery Moments', during which a number of solo instrumentalists played at various times throughout the Festival, and a performance by 'Little Worship' on the Monday afternoon. Visitors were also given the opportunity to light a candle on the altar. The Festival once again proved to be very successful, both from the point of view of the number of visitors attending and the money raised, the latter amounting to over 4,000.

We were grateful to Bob and Brenda Williams for organising regular Whist Drives, the profits from which were donated to the Friends in support of our Quinquennial repair fund. The Friends final fundraising event of the year was another very enjoyable Quiz Evening, hosted by John Loadman.

As a result of all these events and the membership subscriptions received, the Friends were able to increase to 30,000 the total amount committed to the Parochial Church Council in support of the Quinquennial repairs, and to 6,500 the amount committed towards the re-decoration of both the exterior and interior of the Church. We will be paying the 30,000 in support of the Quinquennial repairs to the Parochial Church Council in the next few weeks.

During the year the Friends' website at www.friends.stjames.btinternet.co.uk continued to attract considerable interest, with enquiries including those from two researchers working on forthcoming books, both of whom had come across relevant 'From the Archives' articles by Bill Hardy. We were also able to help the University of Toronto who were seeking a picture of our font to include in their 'Baptisteria Sacra', an online iconographic index of Baptismal Fonts from across the world, and members of the Wordsworth, Frere and Raper families seeking information about their ancestors. During the latter part of the year we launched an updated version of our Churchyard database, including revised maps showing the precise locations of all recorded interments up to August 2006.

As you will be aware, the Friends 2007 programme kicked-off last Saturday with very interesting and enjoyable talk by Bill Hardy entitled 'How Dendrochronology has Revealed the Building Date of our Barn'.

I would like to end my Report by thanking Rosemary, 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 for the support you have given us.

Unless there are any questions at this stage, I will now hand over to Rosemary for the Treasurer's report.

Philip Hargrave
9 March 2007

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