The Friends of St James the Great, Thorley


Report by the Secretary to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, 11 March 2007

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 some 4,200.

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 Quinquennuial 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 36,500 the total amount committed to the Parochial Church Council in support of the Quinquennial repairs and the re-decoration of both the exterior and interior of the Church.

During the year the Friends' website at 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.

By the time of the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, the Friends 2007 programme should have kicked-off with a talk by Bill Hardy entitled 'How Dendrochronology has Revealed the Building Date of our Barn'.

If you are not already a member of the Friends, why not join. The minimum family subscription is only 5.00. By joining you will be directly helping to preserve our ancient and beautiful Church building and maintain our Churchyard.

Philip Hargrave

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