The Friends of St James the Great, Thorley
Report by the Secretary to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, 8 March 2002
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 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. 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 now at www.friends.stjames.btinternet.co.uk and you will find a taste of what is to come.
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.
If you are not already a member why not personally mark the start of our twentieth year by joining the Association. The minimum family subscription is only £5.00. By joining you will be directly helping to preserve our ancient and beautiful Church building.
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