The Friends of St James the Great, Thorley


Report by the Secretary to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, 21 April 2013

A programme of restoration work at St James, including that on a number of the Church windows, is now well underway, and is scheduled for completion by the end of April. The Friends were delighted to be able to report to last year's Annual Parochial Church Meeting that we had raised the 18,500 then estimated as being required to undertake this work. This followed on from our grant of just over 30,000 that had enabled the purchase a new Church organ in 2010, just three years after that fundraising project had been launched in 2007. The Friends' Committee then agreed that, once we had sufficient funds to replace the Chancel and Sanctuary carpets, the latter of which was then in a particularly poor state, our next priority would be the purchase and installation of new Church lighting. Thanks to a generous donation, new carpets were laid in time for the 2012 Festival of Flowers and Music, and the latter was used to publicly announce that our fundraising objective was now in respect of new Church lighting. When we subsequently learnt that the Parochial Church Council had ascertained that the current restoration work would cost more than had previously been estimated, and had found it necessary to incur unbudgeted architect's fees relating to this and other future work that they were considering, we agreed to commit a further 4,400 from our previously raised funds to cover these extra costs. The total raised under our current fundraising objective in respect of new Church lighting is now over 6,500.

Visitors to the 2012 Festival of Flowers and Music were able to view flower arrangements portraying The Season's of the Year. They were also treated to performances by the St James Music Fellowship and a number of other musical moments, and there was an opportunity each day to receive prayer for healing. Together with the Craft Fair on all three days of the Festival, the Mini Fete on the Monday, and a chance for visitors to sit and chat over refreshments, the Festival was once again a great success, both as a significant outreach opportunity and financially.

Our other fund raising activities during the course of the past year were a sale of plants in May, an Autumn Craft Fair in November, and our sale of Sunday afternoon teas from the Church Room during the summer months. We decided to reschedule our annual Quiz Evening so as to space our events more evenly throughout the year. So rather than being held in October of last year, our most recent and highly enjoyable Quiz Evening was delayed until February of this year.

The Friends were once again very grateful to Maureen Hargrave for extending the summer season of Sunday afternoon teas and reverting to the serving of soup and roll lunches over the winter months, to raise additional funds and to maintain fellowship and outreach from the Church Room throughout the year. We were similarly grateful to Bob and Brenda Williams for continuing to organise regular Whist Drives, the profits from which they kindly donated to the Friends.

New members of the Friends are always welcome. 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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