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Chairman's Report 2019


A PDF version of this report can be downloaded here.

Summary of costs
Chair Appeal
In Conclusion


As you have already heard this morning, 2019 was the most extraordinarily successful year for the Friends. I don’t think any of us could have envisaged such an out-turn. 2017 had been a very successful year too, with £167,000 raised but 2019 eclipsed that with £242,000.

Sometimes, in the midst of ever-increasing costs and real uncertainty as to where the rest of the money might come from, the amazing happens. For St Andrew’s Church in August 2019 Christmas came very early. We can all be eternally grateful to the charitable trust that came forward to help us complete the entire Development Project with such a generous grant. We should not forget that this grant came alongside the not-inconsiderable £74,000 raised elsewhere by the Friends and the village community in 2020.

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When we embarked on the Development Project in 2012, we thought we would be spending in the region of £330,000 for the improvements to the church and for the building of the new extension.

Then in 2016 came the torrential rain which revealed that the roof was leaking in four places. Then, as the appointed main contractor began to investigate the church, there were a series of unpleasant discoveries. The discovery that the wrong insulation had been used in the roof, that the interior walls were plastered with the wrong type of plaster and that there was asbestos under the pew platforms and in the boiler house.

Addressing all of that added about £180,000 to the project budget. Of course, the Parochial Church Council had little choice but to add the cost of addressing these urgent repairs to the overall project. It would be simply illogical and extremely foolish not to do so.

Time passed as the PCC dealt with the lengthy discussions about seating, the general slowness of the Diocesan Advisory Committee, the matter the DAC raised at the eleventh hour of the possibility of bats in the church and the objections to the Project presented to the Chancellor of the Diocese.

The direct impact of all of these was to add about £110,000 to the overall cost of the project as a result of increases in materials and labour costs since the original costings were developed.

All in all the cost of the project has more than doubled. But we have to remember it is a much more comprehensive project than originally envisaged. It also included extensive repair work on a scale and of an urgency that none of us who have read the 2014 Quinquennial Inspection report could have imagined would be necessary.

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Throughout the seven years of the Appeal, as each new higher target took shape, the members of the Friends Committee and the village community pressed on determinedly. I can’t thank everyone enough.

What is interesting is the following:

  1. We did well from Trusts and Foundations that have a particular focus on helping churches equip themselves with better facilities such as kitchens and loos.
  2. We did well from Trusts and Foundations that wish to support projects that provide resources to make the church a centre of the local community.
  3. We did well from Trusts and Foundations that only help churches with either a Grade I or Grade II* listing.
  4. We did well from County and Diocesan Trusts and Foundations that support projects only in the county of Wiltshire.
  5. We have done extremely well from Trusts and Foundations that focus only on churches that require urgent repairs.

In total £482,000 – just over 60% of the money we have raised – has come from these sources. These Trusts and Foundations were very largely set up to give funding to support very specific and precise objectives. The money from these could not have gone to deal with poverty or alnutrition or disease either in this country or overseas.

We have raised the rest from our own efforts. Some £300,000. The reality is that our strenuous efforts over the last seven years showed the Trusts and Foundations that we meant business. They acknowledged this with the number and the scale of their grants. Some of them have given wo or three times.

The PCC has contributed £78,000 from Fabric Reserves, the sale of a painting and a small share each year from the proceeds of the Church Fetes.

A further £104,000 has come from the appeal to villagers and former villagers.

The Friends have raised £122,000 from events, activities, the Silent Auction at the Church Fete, the Village Produce Stall and selling Christmas cards and limited edition prints.

A wonderful achievement.

I can now confirm for the Minutes of the 2020 Annual General Meeting of the Friends that the St Andrew’s Church Development Appeal has concluded its business. That Appeal is closed.

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The DAC advised us that 54 chairs had to be funded as part of the main project. The PCC then decided that an additional 70 chairs should be purchased. So far, 54 of the 70 extra chairs have been donated by villagers and former villagers. The Chair Appeal will continue, so, if you have not yet given a chair and would like to do so, please talk to Danuta.

We still have 16 chairs available.

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My task is to thank so many people in the village who have helped in so many ways;

  • those who have organised and helped at events and activities
  • Elizabeth Campbell and Jane Hill for running the advance ticket sales. Elizabeth has now retired from this role but continues to help in other ways. Jane will be retiring after the Pen Hadow talk
  • Roly and Dee Shaw for running the Fine Wine Raffle at events. Roly and Dee have now retired from this role
  • Michael and Chris York for the annual Quiz Supper
  • Chris York and Ian Robertson for running the Village Produce Stall
  • our very hard-working Friends Committee
  • the administrative skills of our Hon. Secretary, Valerie Walters during my time as Chairman and long before that. Valerie has now retired as the Secretary of the Friends after 14 years. We all owe her a huge debt of gratitude.
  • the financial expertise of our Hon. Treasurer, Danuta Tagg
  • the support of the PCC Hon. Treasurer, Alistair Stoker
  • the technical and digital wizardry of our Web Master and technology guru, Gerald Tagg
  • and over two hundred villagers who have helped over the last year in some way or other.

Thank you all.

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We are now in the happy position of having a fine mediaeval church, beautifully conserved, warm, well-lit, comfortable and flexible with a fine organ and with all the resources that the Development Project and the new extension have given us.

A place of regular worship. A haven for popping into and for quiet contemplation. A building with a strong sense of continuity with its past and a clear understanding of and enthusiasm for its long-term future.

The dreadful theft of the lead from the South Aisle Roof is behind us. St Andrew’s Church is now a lead-free zone so of no interest to church roof thieves. We have a small amount still to raise to cover the total cost of replacing the lead but we are nearly there.

We have quickly moved on to implement St Andrew’s Church’s Vision and Mission, developed by the PCC back in 2012 as a place where the whole village can gather for worship and community activities.

The first of the two busy re-opening services in October was attended by villagers, our Diocesan Bishop, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Wilshire, the Diocesan Chancellor and charitable trust representatives. Within fifteen minutes of the end of the Saturday service, a delicious tea was served to 80 guests. Within forty-five minutes of the end of the second re-opening service the next day, St Andrew’s Church was ready to serve up a seated hot lunch to 80 villagers.

Since then, we have had our first annual Quiz Supper in church, our first popular music event and very well-attended services on Remembrance Day and Christmas Day and a packed Carol Service. Refreshments are now served after all the Sunday services with great ease. The Parish Council now meets in the church, as do the PCC, the Development Committee and the Friends Committee.

In February we had our first Baptism since re-opening, followed by a celebratory lunch in church for the Baptism family and their friends. Last week, the first monthly Community Coffee Morning took place.

A busy programme church and community activities is planned for the rest of 2020.

The Development Project was always ‘the means to an end’. We are now starting to deliver that.

Thank you all for the part you have all played in taking this church and this community to the start of delivering the Vision and Mission that was agreed back in 2012.

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A PDF version of this report can be downloaded here.