10th February 2020
This year my letter to you is slightly later than in previous years, as I have been engrossed in organising the annual Morston Quiz, which was held last Saturday. It is a bit late to wish you a happy New Year, but I do hope that you have an enjoyable and healthy 2020.
The past year has seen the successful re-roofing of the South Aisle. As mentioned in my last letter, this was covered with coated steel rather than lead, due to the recent thefts of lead from the roofs of other local churches. It looks remarkably like lead, so I hope that the lead thieves can tell the difference! Having said that, a monitored alarm system has been installed to protect the roofing. In addition the upstand detail against the nave wall has been redesigned, which appears to have stopped the leakage, which has been a problem for many years. The East window has also been repaired. Apart from these projects, the past year has been about tidying up after the major works of 2018/19, on which the PCC has spent about £130,000. The maintenance of All Saints is a never-ending task and so our fund raising efforts must continue for future work. There has been an investigation into the cracking on the tower buttresses and, depending on the final conclusion, strengthening work will be carried out. There is also a need to treat those parts of the church that have not already been treated for woodworm and beetle.
Quite apart from the maintenance of the church building, there is another project for which a separate fundraising effort has been initiated. The tympanum above the 13th century chancel arch carries a painting dated to 1823 depicting a Hanoverian Royal Arms with a Decalogue beneath. This is amongst a small and
rare group of such examples remaining in the
UK; its existence is, therefore, highly
significant and historically important.
However, having received no attention, the
paint layers are now badly flaking and the
painting itself is almost completely obscured
by heavy dark brown varnish and a thick
accumulation of dirt. Tests show that the
removal of this will prove spectacular. The
renovation of the tympanum requires
specialist conservation expertise, which, as you would expect, comes at a cost. Quotations are in the region of £75,000. Funds raised for this project will be held separately from the normal building maintenance funds. It is hoped that, due to the significance of the tympanum, there will be help in the form of grants from funding organisations. Undoubtedly, however, grants will not cover the whole cost of the tympanum renovation and often these are awarded on a matched funding basis, so we will still need to raise funds ourselves at dedicated events.
In the 2018/19 financial year we raised just under £24,500, which is the most successful year in the short history of the ‘Friends’. Once again, a large part of the income was from the Book Sale, which, along with the accompanying Plant Sale and Refreshments raised £14000. The total was also helped by the trip to Dalham Hall Stud, which raised £2000 and significant additional income from ‘EasyFundraising’. Last year again saw a reduction in income from subscriptions due to the dwindling number of members, but we hope that we will start to reverse this trend shortly. 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 consistently support our events throughout the year.
There was an additional, very successful fund
raising event last year called “Tales and Ales”,
when we hosted the theatre company
“Impromptu Shakespeare” in the beautiful
setting of Gill Kay’s walled garden in Morston.
The actors made up and performed a hilarious
Shakespearean style play based on
suggestions hurled (literally - on ping-pong balls)
from the audience and cleverly included local
themes! Accompanied by complementary
Pukka Pies and Norfolk Wherry ale, the evening
was hugely entertaining and we had exceptionally good feedback from those who attended. The event raised £2500, so well done to Sandra Morris, the organiser, all the helpers and particularly to all the actors, who made the effort to come to North Norfolk- it was much appreciated.
The AGM this year will be held on Saturday 20th June at Morston Village Hall at 6:30pm. The next fundraising event will be the Shovell Dinner on Saturday 17th October at The Anchor. I am delighted that we have persuaded Charlie Ward to give a talk entitled “East Coast Sailing Barges and the Building of Juno”. For those of you who, like me, have sat and marvelled as “Juno” majestically sails past, this will be a fascinating talk. For tickets, please contact Peter Tibbetts: 01263-741082.
The Committee would like to thank all of you who have attended our events and continue to donate generously to our cause. Without you it would not be possible to carry out the much needed maintainance on All Saints’ Church. We look forward to seeing you at one of our events in the coming year.