The Friends of St James the Great, Thorley

 

Report by the Secretary to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, 21 March 2010

The Friends of St James were pleased to be able to make a first payment of 10,150 to the Parochial Church Council in December, to enable a deposit to be paid and an order to be placed for our new Church organ. We will be paying the balance of £20,300 due once the new 37 Stop Two Manual Allen electronic organ has been delivered and installed, hopefully within the next two months. This will bring to a close our latest fundraising project that was launched back in 2007. Following on from our major grants to the Parochial Church Council of 25,000 in 2001 and 30,000 in 2007. both in support of restoration work on the Tower, and a number of other smaller grants, this will bring the total contributed by the Friends in the first decade of the 21st Century, in support of our remit of helping to maintain and beautify the Church and Churchyard, to some 100,000.

The theme for the 2009 Festival of Flowers and Music was 'Favourite Poems'. As well as viewing the flower arrangements, visitors were also able to enjoy musical settings of a number of the poems, together with anthems and hymns, and instrumental and vocal solos and duets. On the Sunday there was a Festival Songs of Praise, for which some of the Festival volunteers selected their favourite hymns and outlined the reasons for their choices. A new innovation for 2009 was a DVD featuring photographs of all of the arrangements together with readings of the poems that had inspired them. This was rapidly produced on the Saturday of the Festival, once the arrangements were in place and photographs of them could be taken to complement recordings of the poems made on Thursday and Friday. It was offered for sale to Festival visitors on subsequent days, and more generally throughout the rest of the year. There was once again a most enjoyable barbecue on the Saturday evening of the Festival. Overall the Festival proved to be very successful, both from the point of view of the number of visitors and the money raised, with the latter amounteing to some 5,000, an almost identical sum to that raised by the 2008 Festival.

The other fund raising activities during the course of the year were a sale of plants in May, to which gardeners were invited to donate those 'surplus' to their requirements and come to purchase what they lacked, our ever popular Quiz Evening in October and an Autumn Craft Fair in November. A CD of 'Christmas Music from St James the Great, Thorley', featuring the St James Music Fellowship with the 1st Thorley (St James) Scout Group Saxon Cub pack, was recorded and produced in time to be sold at the Autumn Craft Fair, and during the subsequent run-up to Christmas. Maureen Hargrave once again extended the season of Sunday afternoon teas, reverting to the serving of soup and roll lunches over the winter months, so as to maintain this important fundraising stream, and to provide Sunday fellowship and outreach from the Church Room throughout the year. We were also grateful to Bob and Brenda Williams for continuing to organise regular Whist Drives, the profits from which they kindly donated to the Friends.

During the year the Friends' website continued to attract considerable interest.. We received e-mails from individuals as far afield as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. All expressed their delight at being able to find details of their Thorley ancestors in our Database of Churchyard Monuments and Transcription of Parish Records.

If you are not already a member of the Friends, pleae consider joining. 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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