The Friends of St James the Great, Thorley


Report by the Secretary to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, 27 April 2014

At the time of last year's Annual Parochial Church Meeting, a programme of restoration work was well underway at St James. As noted in the Friends of St James report to that meeting, we had just committed a further 4,400 towards the project in addition to the 18,500 that we had been asked to raise back in 2011. This was because the Parochial Church Council had ascertained that the work was likely to cost more than had previously been estimated, and because the Council had also found it necessary to incur architect's fees which had not been included in the original budget. In the event, the Friends made a grant of just under 24,000 to the Parochial Church Council to cover the cost of the work undertaken in accordance with the original specification plus a significant number of other items that we were also asked to fund, including repairs to the Churchyard walls. Of this figure, just under 4,000 was by way of a loan to cover the cost of the VAT payable for the work, which the Parochial Church Council will be able to reclaim through the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme. The work is now essentially complete, apart from the fitting of protective grills to the last few Church windows.

At this time last year, the total we had raised in respect of our latest fundraising objective, the purchase and installation of new Church lighting, stood at just over 6,500. As a result of our activities over the past year, this figure has more than doubled to 15,500. Once the VAT loaned in respect of the latest restoration programme has been repaid, we will have approximately 19,500 available for this and other projects to add to the over 125,000 we have spent since the start of the new millennium in support of our remit of assisting the Rector and Parochial Church Council in maintaining and beautifying the Church and Churchyard.

Last year marked the 30th Anniversary of the Friends, a fact we were able to exploit to gain significant publicity in the run up to the 2013 Festival of Flowers and Music. Visitors to the Festival were able to view flower arrangements on the theme of The Celebration of Marriage. They were also treated to a number musical moments throughout the Festival and group singing on the Monday, and had 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. Most recently we held another Quiz Evening in February.

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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