The Friends of St James the Great, Thorley


Report by the Secretary to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, 16 March 2000


The provision of Sunday afternoon teas during the summer months, the Festival of Flowers and Music over the August Bank Holiday Weekend and the Quiz Evening in November were once again the key social and fundraising events in the Friends’ calendar during 1999. The Quiz Evening was the last in a long line to be hosted by Peter Cottee. The Committee is indebted to Peter and Ann for all the work they have put in over the years in organising and leading this annual event, and delighted that John Loadman will be continuing the tradition by hosting a similar event this year.


The Committee is extremely grateful to Max Streets and his team of supporters for once again ensuring the orderly appearance of the Churchyard throughout the year.


Following on from the key fobs and coasters that were included in the range of Friends’ souvenirs during 1998, the 1999 Flower Festival saw the addition of some notecards with illustrations of St James and other Bishop’s Stortford landmarks. Watch out for our new line of Millennium pens to be launched this year.


The total money raised during 1999 enabled us to commit an additional 4,000 to the Parochial Church Council in support of the forthcoming work to restore the Tower, bringing the total committed by the Friends to this project to 18,000.


As part of the celebrations to mark the Millennium, the Friends received a yew tree under the ‘Yews for the Millennium’ initiative. The sapling was received during Evensong at St Alban’s Abbey on 13th November. The Committee had intended to arrange a planting ceremony a week later. However, our tree turned out to be one of the ‘smaller’ yews to be distributed, and it was decided to leave it in the tender care of Tim Fuller over the winter period as it was considered too frail to be planted out. We will be arranging a planting ceremony once we are satisfied that neither the size of the tree nor the weather will jeopardise there being two yews in the Churchyard at the start of the fourth Millennium!


During the year we launched a Friends Web site. Those of you with internet access will find our site at We are pleased that Bill Hardy has allowed us to include the text and illustrations from his Church guide. You will also find descriptions of the monuments and stained glass windows in the Church. Anyone who had familiarised themselves with our site would have been well placed to answer Peter Cottee’s question at the last Quiz Evening relating to the inscription on one of the windows.


This year’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Friday, 24th March at the St Barnabas Centre, commencing at 7.30pm. Once the necessary business has been completed, the evening will continue with a bring and share supper with drinks provided.


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