26th January 2019
First of all I would like this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year. I must admit that I have been looking forward to writing this letter to you as, at last, progress has been made with regards to the renovation of All Saints’ Church. If you passed through Morston in the summer you might have thought that body snatchers were at work in our grave yard. This, however, was the much-needed modernisation of the drainage around the church, which was the first phase in the current programme of work. The grave stones were protected with sheets of wood and the drains and soakaways were carefully dug with reference to the churchyard grave map. The result is that the rainwater will now stop pooling near the walls and will no longer penetrate into the masonry. By the time that the drains had been completed, it had been established that the church did not house a bat maternity roost and so work could start on the chancel roof.
A huge amount of scaffolding went up, both inside and outside the chancel. When the roof was stripped from the supporting beams it was found that rather more of the woodwork needed replacing than had been anticipated, but EFL (the contractor) has done a fine job of replacing whole beams and cutting and shaping part beams to make the roof supports secure again. The chancel roof was completed in December and declared weather proof! The internal scaffolding was removed, followed by a thorough clean up by some very hard working volunteers just in time for the annual candle-lit carol service, which was attended by an estimated 200 to 250 people in very good voice.
It is hoped that, once the VAT has been reclaimed that there will be enough funds to reroof the South aisle. However, the quotations obtained to date have been for lead covering and, in view of the recent thefts from Field Dalling and Baconsthorpe, the PCC are now considering the alternative of coated steel, which will add a certain amount to the cost. Whatever happens, there is no doubt that the ‘Friends’ bank account will be severely depleted after all these invoices have been settled, but that’s what we are here for. Our fund raising efforts must continue for future work, which will include repairing cracks in the tower and, once the church has had time to dry out, replastering and decorating the interior.
In the 2017/18 financial year we raised just under £19,300. After expenditure, the total raised in the year was slightly less than the previous year, but nevertheless represents the second highest annual income since the foundation of ‘The Friends’. A large part of the reduction in income is, sadly, due to the demographics of North Norfolk and, in particular, those of “The Friends”, which is causing our numbers to dwindle over time. We therefore need a recruitment drive to encourage new, younger members, who can take up the baton in years to come. If any of you know of anybody who may be interested in joining the “Friends of Morston Church” please put them in touch. As always, the success of our fundraising is due to the time and effort put in by the committee and many helpers. I would like to thank them all and those of you, who turn up time and time again at our events throughout the year.
We had very positive and enthusiastic feedback on the day trip we organised to the Dalham Hall stud in Newmarket. Our host Sam Bullard was very knowledgeable and entertaining and huge thanks are due to him and his team for making the visit such a success, raising just over £2000.
A quick update on the “Easyfundraising” scheme. We now have 15 supporters, who have raised a total of over £900 for the “Friends of Morston Church”. As you will recall, this is the result of donations made by companies for on-line purchases made by our supporters. If you buy anything on-line, then, if you do it through easyfundraising.org.uk, the retailer will give a percentage of the price of your purchase to your nominated charity at no additional cost to you. So, if you shop on-line, please register with easyfundraising.org.uk and nominate “Friends of Morston Church” as your chosen charity.
We are planning an additional fund raising event this year, which should not be missed by anybody interested in comedy theatre and/or Shakespeare. We are privileged to host a visit from the theatre company “Impromptu Shakespeare” in a walled garden setting in Morston, before their annual trip to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Essentially, these actors make up and perform a Shakespearean style play based on suggestions from the audience- with hilarious results!
Please make a note in your diary of the dates for all our events in 2019, as follows:
Quiz Night Saturday 2nd February Contact Joc Wingfield: 01263-740431
Book Sale Sat-Mon 4th – 6th May Morston Barn, To donate books please contact: Sally Metcalfe (07813-369145) or Peter Tibbetts (01263-741082).
AGM Saturday 22nd June, Morston Village Hall at 6:30pm. Impromptu ShakespeareSat. 20th July, Contact Sandra Morris: (firstname.lastname@example.org ) or Peter Tibbetts (01263-741082 or email@example.com ). Shovell DinnerSaturday 12th October, Contact Peter Tibbetts: 01263-741082.
I hope to see you at one or more of these events and please feel free to invite friends and relatives.
We are acutely aware that none of the work to All Saints’ Church would have been possible without the generosity and help of the members of the “Friends of Morston Church”, so the committee would like to extend our thanks to all of you for your continued support.