Friends’ Festival

The Friends’ Annual Festival opccupied its traditional slot on the final Saturday of the Music Festival, which this year fell on 27th August 2011.

This year’s activities were in a lower key than usual, to leave space for the launch of the Edington Organ Project that was held immediately after the Solemn Eucharist. The service continued this year’s theme of Edington Saints, and featured music by Orlande de Lassus, Francisco Guerrero and Sir Edward Elgar.

Friends helped to swell the numbers around the churchyard marquee following the service. Drinks were served as Ashley Grote introduced the Organ Project to the large crowd gathered in the warm summer sunshine. After the launch, Friends’ Council members were then privileged to join the Appeal Patrons and other key participants for lunch in the marquee at Millside, by kind permission of Mr and Mrs E J Tyler.

Back in church, there was time for a chat over tea and biscuits before the Friends’ Annual General Meeting. Presenting his final Treasurer’s report, Christopher Parsons commented that with interest rates still at rock bottom he had moved additional funds into equities. He cautioned that since the accounts were drawn up at the end of April, stock market falls and our contribution to the Organ Project have significantly depleted the Friends’ reserves.

Reporting on the Fabric Fund, Michael Jones reflected that the intruder alarms fitted three years ago continued to give significant protection to our lead roofs. Over this time Bratton had suffered no less than four thefts of lead, with other local incidents including a theft from the church in Westbury. In the church itself, the Sanctus bell has now been re-hung, and improvements have been made to the heating system. To mark the 650th anniversary, a new brass consecration cross had been fitted to the existing empty recess in the north transept, and new south gates had been provided in the churchyard, with an adjacent new bed of William roses. Following the Friends’ substantial contribution to the Organ Project (voted last year) there were no calls for funding in 2011. The quinquennial inspection had confirmed that the fabric was generally in good order, but there were some items that might require Friends’ support next year.

Clare Norfolk-Brown began her churchwarden’s report by thanking everyone who had supported the church over the last twelve months, including those who had worked in the churchyard and at Ralph’s Seat. Services had continued as usual, using the King James Bible for readings during its 400th anniversary year. Special services had included Plough Sunday and Mothering Sunday, and congregations had continued to support the external charity of the month. Secular events such as the jazz evening and stir-up coffee morning have become traditional features of the Edington calendar, but the week of 650th anniversary celebrations was unique. Clare particularly thanked Joanna Robertson and her team for all the hard work that had made the week so successful. In conclusion, Claire thanked the Rector, Graham Southgate, for his eight years of ministry, and wished him well as he leaves to take over his new parishes in the Nadder Valley next month.

Ashley Grote then said a few words to thank Friends for helping to get the Organ Project off to a firm start. The Project’s funding had grown from £106k to over £130k during the Festival – which, together with a further promise of £75k, is around the half-way mark. However, he stressed that the PCC would not be able to sign a contract with the organ builders until it was confident of the financial position.

Finally, Friends voted unanimously to elect Christine Allanson Bailey and Susie Hancock to the Friends’ Council, and appointed Nicholas Buckman to succeed Christopher Parsons as Treasurer.

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© Friends of Edington Priory Church | Registered charity no: 00268249 | updated 29/11/11