The Friends of St James the Great, Thorley


Report by the Secretary to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, planned for 26 April 2020

Following two years during which the Friends made grants totalling over 25,000 to cover the costs of the redecoration of the Church and an upgrade to its heating system, our expenditure on the Church and Churchyard during 2019 was limited to 975. In addition to a final payment of 200 in respect of the Church heating, the bulk of this this was to fund the purchase of a new mower and the servicing of the existing ones, plus the restoration of an altar frontal. This has meant that, despite the loss of income resulting from the Friends stepping aside from organising the 2018 and 2019 Festivals of Flowers and Music, we nevertheless have over 20,000 available for future projects.

The Committee had been considering funding the remainder of the work identified as being required on the Church during the 2014 Quinquennial Inspection but, as the next Inspection was due in 2019, we held back from agreeing to do so in case this were to identify other more urgent work. The 2019 Inspection did identify a new crack in the south wall of the Church that is undergoing further inspection. However, it also concluded that the work outstanding from the 2014 Inspection should cost far less than had previously been estimated. The Friends have therefore agreed to fund the approximately 8,000 required for this work, holding back a decision on the use of the remainder of the funds at our disposal until a conclusion has been reached in respect of the crack.

The Friends' have this year funded the construction of a new board to display the names of future Rectors, as that used hitherto has no room for further additions. The new board reflects the design of the previous one. The latter has been resited higher on the north wall of the ground floor of the tower than before, with the new board placed beneath it, awaiting the name of our next Rector.

When the Committee discussed the way forward in respect of the 2020 Festival, we noted that the Festivals had grown substantially in terms of organisational complexity over the more than thirty years since the first organised by the Friends in 1987. We also noted that the fact that the PCC had taken on the responsibility for the preceding two Festivals had resulted in these benefiting from a significantly wider community being involved in their organisation. It was felt that it would be preferable if this were to continue and it has therefore been agreed that the PCC will take over the responsibility for the organisation of future Festivals.

The Friends held another successful and enjoyable Quiz Evening on 8 March this year. Our plans for the remainder of the year are once again to hold a sale of Nursery plants in May and to host an Autumn Craft Fair in November. We also wish to offer Sunday Teas from the Church Room during the months of May to September inclusive. However, this will only be possible if volunteers come forward who are prepared to organise rotas for segments of the season and to sign-up for the weekly slots in these rotas. Please let me or any of the other Committee members know if you can help in either way.

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 PCC by helping to preserve our ancient and beautiful Church building and to maintain our Churchyard.

Philip Hargrave
Chairman & Secretary

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