The Friends of St James the Great, Thorley
Report by the Secretary to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, 26 April 2015
The total sum at the Friends' disposal for the installation of new Church lighting, our most recent fund-raising project, stood at £15,500 at the start of 2014. As reported at last year's Annual Parochial Church Meeting, this was set to rise to approximately £19,500 on repayment of the loan we had made to the Parochial Church Council to cover the VAT payable for the recent programme of Church restoration. This loan was part of a total grant by the Friends to the Parochial Church Council of some £24,000 for such work, the VAT element being reclaimable by the Council through the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme.
As a result of our fund rising, the total at the Friends' disposal, when including the repayment of this loan, had risen to some £29,500 by the end of last year. This is likely to be more than enough to fund the installation of new Church lighting. However, as a consequence of the move from the use of incandescent to LED lighting, there has been a delay in the selection of a final design. As a relatively new technology, such lighting brings with it a number of options, and it has proven difficult to determine the most appropriate solution. Although this has delayed the spending of the funds that we have raised for the lighting, it is right that the necessary time is taken to establish the best way forward. We are hopeful that a final decision will be made shortly.
The subject of our next project has already been raised with the Parochial Church Council and, by the time of this year's Annual Parochial Church Meeting, should have been the subject of a discussion at the Friends' 2015 Annual General Meeting.
Our main fundraising event during the last year was, as usual, our annual Festival of Flowers and Music held over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Visitors to the 2014 Festival were able to view flower arrangements on the theme of Saints - Familiar and Unfamiliar. They were also treated to a number musical moments and group singing throughout the Festival, and had an opportunity each day to receive prayer for healing. Together with the Craft Fair on all three days of the Festival, a 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.
Last year marked the 100th Anniversary of the start of the First World War, a fact that enabled the Friends to gain significant publicity in the run up to the 2014 Festival through the unique record of Thorley's First World War heroes that we put on display at St James. This was based on the contents of a small red notebook compiled by the Rector of Thorley at the time, the Revd John E. I. Procter, in which he painstakingly recorded details of the 103 servicemen from the parish who answered the call to arms.
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 very successful and enjoyable Quiz Evening in February of this year.
New members of the Friends are always welcome. The minimum family subscription is only £5.00. By joining you will be supporting the work of the Parochial Church Council by helping to preserve our ancient and beautiful Church building and to maintain our Churchyard.
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