2nd February 2021
When I wrote to you last year and wished you an enjoyable and healthy 2020, I had no idea what was in store for us all! I sincerely hope that you have stayed safe and well and perhaps see a light at the end of the tunnel with the successful implementation of the vaccination programme.
After the restoration works of 2018/19, the following year concentrated on tidying up the debris and restoring the churchyard where the spoil had been dumped. Last year little was done on the structure of All Saints, but I shall summarise the more recent works.
· The repairs to east window were completed
· The tower structure was surveyed and the necessary steps for its improvement have been documented. The PCC has decided not to carry this out immediately as the cost of the scaffolding, compared to the cost of the works suggests that it would be better to perform this as part of other works in a future contract.
· The woodworm and beetle protection has been completed.
· The new chancel kneelers and curtain are in place.
· A new flagpole holder has been installed on the roof of the tower
I am also pleased to report that the south-western corner of the churchyard has recovered well, with no sign of the spoil that had been spread over it.
In the words of the PCC’s Fabric Officer, this sounds as though we are lucky enough to have a perfectly maintained church. However, the 2016 Quinquennial still shows another £75,000 of Priority B work (including the tower) and a
further £60,000 of less urgent work. So, the
Friends of Morston Church cannot afford to be
complacent and we must continue our
fundraising efforts in order to help preserve
the church for future generations.
In last year’s letter I introduced you to the
19th century tympanum and the prospect of
raising separate funds for its restoration. I am
pleased to say that the PCC have managed
to secure £23,000 in grants for the tympanum restoration and there have been additional private donations of £16,000. This still leaves a significant amount needed to cover the quoted cost and some of the grants will lapseif the balance is not made up. although fund raising activities have been put on hold in the summer, the PCC will shortly be writing to potential donors in a final effort to secure full funding for the project.
In the 2019/20 financial year we raised just under £30,000, which, once again, was our highest annual total. As in previous years, the majority of the income was from the Book Sale, which, along with the accompanying Plant Sale and Refreshments raised a staggering £18,500. This was the last book sale and in its 10 year life managed to raise over £80,000 for the Friends of Morston Church. This is an astonishing achievement, particularly when you consider that the average price of the books was not much more than £1! This success was largely due to the Metcalfe family, who collected, sorted and priced every book, organised the events and allowed us to hold the recent events in the beautiful setting of Morston Barn. However, it would not have been possible to hold the event without all the people who donated their books and, in particular, the support of many, many volunteers, who helped with the carrying and displaying of tens of thousands books; planting, nurturing and selling hundreds of plants and catering for hundreds
of hungry and thirsty visitors. So, a very
heartfelt thanks to all who helped over the ten
Inevitably, this last calendar year has been
affected drastically by the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the first time we held a ‘virtual’ AGM using
Zoom, although a few hardy souls attended in
person (suitably distanced) in West Acre
garden under a large gazebo, very soon after a
thunder storm. This year’s AGM is scheduled for Saturday 19th June at 6:30pm at Morston village hall (Covid permitting). We managed to hold our annual quiz in February last year, but since then there has been very limited scope for fundraising. However, book sales are continuing in a ‘virtual’ capacity. The ‘Friends’ are still collecting books, which are sorted and sold on the internet. This has raised over £7,100 since our last ‘physical’ book sale in 2019. This year’s annual quiz and the 2020 Shovell dinner were both cancelled, due to Covid restrictions, but I am delighted to say that Charlie Ward has agreed to carry over his presentation to this year’s Shovell dinner on Saturday 16th October with a talk entitled “East Coast Sailing Barges and the Building of Juno”. We are keeping our fingers crossed that by then restrictions have eased and, more importantly, that people feel happy about congregating indoors again. Tickets will be available from Peter Tibbetts at West Acre, Morston (01263-741082). Further details will be sent out nearer the time.
This past year and into the foreseeable future is a difficult time for charities as the coronavirus has severely restricted the ability to hold events to raise funds and our income will be a fraction of that raised in previous years. For this reason, the committee is very aware that the members of the “Friends of Morston Church” are more important than ever in keeping revenue coming in to our charity. Thank you all so much for your continued support and we hope and pray that you stay safe and well and we look forward to seeing you at the AGM or the Shovell Dinner later in the year.