AGM 2001


Friends of St Mary's Church, Cricklade, Wiltshire, U.K.


Chairman: Hugh Dudley, 4 Pleydells, Cricklade, SWINDON, SN6 6NG

Secretary: Gerry Dudley, 4 Pleydells, Cricklade, SWINDON, SN6 6NG

Treasurer: Tony Barratt, 13 Boundary Close, Stratton, SWINDON, SN2 7TF


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Annual General Meeting


The Friends of St Mary's Church, Cricklade

Held on 13th November 2001 at Brook House, Cricklade, Commencing 19:40

Present: Committee: Members:

Fr Richard Barton

Bernadette Yarnold

Seymour Aitken

Edmund Lee

Robin Williams

Gerry Dudley

Peter Baister

Ray Tetlow

Mary Bourne

René McEvoy

Barbara Phillips

Sheila Bellamy-Knights

Anne Wykeham-Martin

Margaret Stephenson

David Tetlow

Robin Bourne

Pam Woodley

Sean O'Connell


The meeting commenced with a short prayer.


Tony Doyle; Pat Prendergast; Philippa Hunter; Mrs Janet Williams; Pat & Stuart Hay; Janet Heneghan; Pat Charlton; Mr P Coppenhall, Mr H. C Nash;

1. Chairman's Report

Bernadette delivered her report (attached) and since there were no questions following, we continued to

2. Treasurer's Report

Tony Doyle had sent his apologies. Bernadette delivered his report in his absence (attached).

3. Election of Officers

Without exception, all serving officers were prepared to be re-elected. With no other nominees for existing offices, voting commenced.

Chairman - Bernadette Yarnold - proposed Fr Richard, seconded G Dudley - carried

Treasurer - Tony Doyle - proposed Bernadette, seconded Sean O'Connell - carried

The Committee did not have a Vice-Chairman and Sean O'Connell had been nominated prior to the meeting, by Fr Richard, seconded by Gerry Dudley - carried.

Secretary - Gerry Dudley - proposed Bernadette, seconded Fr Richard - carried.

News Letter Editor - Ed Lee. Proposed G Dudley, seconded R. Williams - carried

Other Committee Members

S Aitken - proposed Bernadette, seconded R McEvoy - carried

P Hunter - proposed Bernadette, seconded S Aitken, carried

P Prendergast - proposed G Dudley, seconded R McEvoy, carried

R Williams - proposed A Wykeham-Martin, seconded Fr Richard - carried

Members were asked if anyone else would like to consider becoming a member of the Committee, Peter Baister was proposed by Fr Richard, seconded by Bernadette and voted on to the Committee by members present.

4. Future Projects

Members were asked to vote on expenditure relating to new Window Grills to be placed over some of the stained glass windows in the church. The grills have been made and will be attached shortly. The cost will be £384.58. Members agreed.

An alteration to the inside of the baptismal font was requested. The font is unlined and baptisms have taken place by using a stainless steel washing up bowl. Fr Richard proposed that a lead lining should be placed inside the font and the existing drain fitted with a tap to allow the water to be removed. The cost of providing this lining would be £250.00. Members agreed.

Fr Richard reported that the existing grill on the East Window is badly rusted. The rust is emanating from the rods holding the grills together, and it is discolouring the stone work around the window. This will need to be replaced. During inspection it was found that some of the lead is missing, and a small area of glass is cracked and would need to be replaced. The cost of this work would be less than £1,000 in total. Members agreed to fund the repairs.

The Bell Tower. The lead on the tower roof has deteriorated considerably, but the temporary measure taken when this was discovered will be sufficient for the time being. There are no leaks or problems relating to this, and so it was felt that there was no need to expedite the replacement of the lead. The re-pointing is also to be left in abeyance until such time as it is absolutely necessary .

The heating system is to be installed very soon. It will be housed within the bell tower, close to, but not attached to the bell frame. A false ceiling will be put into the tower with screening around the heating system.

New gas piping is being installed at present.

Renewal of the electrical system is also taking place, and will include replacing the. New light fittings.

The platform in the Sanctuary is to be lifted to provide an opportunity to check the old electrical wiring underneath, and to lay down preparations for a Deaf loop system. When replaced, the platform will be shortened slightly. A parishioner has donated a new carpet, and this will be laid when alterations have taken place.

The side door on the altar will also receive some attention making it more secure.

Work on the wall has commenced. The work will incorporate providing disabled access to the path by lowering the step at the gate. There were various hold ups relating to the type of stone, the type of pointing etc., but it has begun at last. Because of the delays and changes of plan which increased the amount of stone to be purchased, it has become necessary to shelve the plan to replace the railings.

The Sanctus bell is to be refurbished during the restoration work being undertaken in the tower.

The Pipe Organ in the chapel has not worked very well for a long time and the Committee has discussed the possibility of removing it and replacing it with one more appropriate to St Mary's. Expert advice has been sought and it has been concluded that the organ is not best suited to St Mary's. As it is on the inventory, permission from the PCC at St Sampson's is required for its removal. If this is granted, a Faculty will be sought to allow removal. The chapel area would then provide space for alternative use. Some suggested uses are a new Confessional area; a "Crying room"; an alternative place of worship; and others. The final decision can only be made when we know exactly what space we would have to use.

Fr Richard also mentioned the possibility of moving the pulpit to another part of the church to enhance visibility for congregation -this is only a suggestion and no decisions or discussions have taken place.

Fr Richard assured those present that any alterations would be sensitive to St Mary's with nothing undertaken that would impair its unique qualities.

Sean O'Connell asked about the graveyard maintenance. His concern was for the safety of children/adults who use the graveyard at all times during the day/evening. Fr Richard is attempting to find out who is responsible for maintenance. Cricklade Town Council maintain St Sampson's graveyard which is also a "closed" graveyard. Correspondence is ongoing and it is hoped that a conclusion will be reached soon.

With the repair of the front wall, it was felt that it would be an ideal opportunity for the Friends to intervene and pay the £3,529 extra needed to replace the railings at the same time, instead of leaving them in abeyance (see above). Members subsequently voted to transfer the money necessary from Friends' funds to accomplish the work. It was hoped that the railings, and a lockable gate would act as a deterrent to the public from using the graveyard without authorisation.

With reference to the work currently being done, Edmund Lee commented on the archaeological aspect involved. The work specifically entails digging a trench alongside the main path to just beyond the door, to accommodate gas piping, and enable the new central heating system to be installed Another trench has been dug on the other side of the church to accommodate electrical cables. While this digging is in progress it is necessary to have an archaeologist on site to provide a "watching brief' in case any artifacts or things of archaeological interest are disturbed. Edmund very kindly volunteered to do this. Whilst nothing major was unearthed, there was a very large stone which provided a base for one of the buttresses on the chapel which could have been a pre-reformation altar top. There were no markings or carvings of interest, and to leave it uncovered would invite deterioration. Now that we know where it is for future reference, it is to be recovered.

Edmund will provide a written report which he will circulate at a later date.

Those present were asked if they had any questions or suggestions for future projects.

Sheila Bellamy-Knights asked about the provision of running water. Fr Richard explained that whilst water would be desirable, the excavation work involved would mean deeper, wider and more expensive trenches being dug and it was felt that we could manage with our current system of large water containers, since the water is only required for flower arranging.

Barbara Phillips suggested a water butt. Fr Richard explained that due to the architectural restrictions applied to the church, the provision of drainage to a water butt would not be practical.

Blessing of Bell

The new chiming bell is ready for hanging and needs to be blessed. It is proposed that this takes place on Sunday 2nd December. Sheila Bellamy-Knights was asked if she dress the bell in accordance with established custom. She kindly agreed to do so.

Fund Raising

Musical Recitals, Race Nights, Skittles Evenings etc., were mentioned. Robin Bourne suggested that a small sub-committee be formed to deal with Fund Raising Activities. Initial volunteers are Robin Bourne, Sean O'Connell and Peter Baister who will try to involve other members of the congregation in their activities.


Pam Woodley suggested that it might be a good idea to supply members of Friends of St Mary's with a badge/lapel pin. This will be investigated and a decision made at a future date.

Bernadette thanked all those members who had attended and hoped that they had enjoyed being able to air their views and opinions. She expressed the hope that they would be attending the next AGM in November 2002.

NEXT COMMITTEE MEETING - January 8th 2002 at St Mary's commencing 7.30 p.m.


Chairman's Report

Annual General Meeting, 13 November 2001

The inaugural meeting of The Friends of St Mary's was held under the chairmanship of Tim Cheesman on 30th June 1998. At that meeting its instigator, Father Richard, outlined the most urgent maintenance work required by St Mary's, and his bid for £35,000 to meet it. At that time, it is worth recalling that the repointing of the bell tower, the heating (or lack of it), and the condition of the organ were the primary causes for concern. The eight 'Friends' who were present at the meeting proposed a formal Constitution and asked Fr Richard to seek the advice of the Diocesan Legal Department with regard to format.

For one reason or another, that Constitution has only recently been ratified, and this is the first Annual General Meeting to be held. It is therefore incumbent upon me to apologise to all those present this evening who joined in 1998 or 1999 that you have not until now been afforded the opportunity to air your views on the 'Friends'.

I do not propose to report on the activities of the earlier years but I can tell you that the maintenance requirements for St Mary's increased at almost every meeting as we included the subsidence of the North wall, possible re-roofing of the North aisle and reconstruction of the boundary wall fronting the High Street, and the target figure soon doubled to £70,000. I can also tell you that every time we attempted to prioritise the maintenance we were thwarted either by 'red tape' (we are a grade ll* listed building) or the emergence of some more urgent need.

Now, if you are starting to wonder how we are going to reach such financial targets, I refer you to the Constitution. 'The Friends' is an instrument of support to the parish, specifically the Church of St Mary's. Our fundraising can only hope to meet some of the needs of St Mary's, the parish meets the rest. Resources being limited, as there are two churches to support, it also follows that any enhancements for St Mary's are likely to have to be found from 'The Friends'.

In July 2000 our Chairman, Tim Cheesman, announced his irnminent retirement and departure to Devon. Tim had worked hard to promote The Friends of St Mary's since its inauguration and we were very much aware that we would miss his (and Beverly's) valuable contribution to our organisation. A small framed sketch of St Mary's was presented to Tim and Beverly as a token of appreciation.

Fr Richard asked me to fill the post of Chairman, and I agreed. At the same time we welcomed Robin Williams to our committee, he replaced Anne Hayes who had left the area. With the changes we took the opportunity to appoint Edmund Lee as Editor of the Newsletter. This provides Edmund with a platform through which to share with us his archaeological knowledge of Cricklade, and especially St Mary's.

Membership of "The Friends" has grown, albeit slowly. We have 74 members. Subscriptions are not the mainstay of our finances but they make a significant contribution and demonstrate commitment. Since our inauguration we have raised a magnificent £24,622. It must be acknowledged that well over £6K has come to us in the form of donations, and £5K + from Gift Aid. We thank most sincerely our generous and mainly anonymous benefactors.

Over the 3 years we have expended the modest sum of £5,958. Those of you who are parishioners of St Mary's may have noticed some of the improvements - the covered kneelers, the carpeted pew seats and a 7 day timer for the under pew heating. Externally, much of the guttering was renewed in 1999. The 'Friends' has also produced the leaflet giving a brief history of St Mary's, the framed list of incumbents of St Mary's, and is responsible for the restoration of the altar frontal.

We have plans for more expenditure which I bring before you now. We have agreed to fund the overhaul of the 1863 clock which includes the introduction of an automatic winding mechanism and the reinstatement of the chimes. This will cost £4,500. Two years ago we received a grant of £500 from the Waylands Trust towards the overhauling of the clock in time for the new Millennium. In the event, it turned out to be a much bigger project than anticipated. it took over a year to locate a Tower and Turret Clock Specialist and his advice extended the scope of the project which 'The Friends' decided to adopt as their own. The work is almost finished, and the bell that will be used to sound the hours is waiting for its Blessing, after which the restoration of the clock will be complete. The Waylands Trust grant will therefore be used for the restoration and regilding of the external clock face.

Staying on the outside of the building, it has become necessary from a security and Health and Safety perspective to provide grills to those stained glass windows which were post WWll. The cost, which includes the templates, is £384.58, and as the parish is facing an enormous bill for its heating and boundary wall projects, it would be appropriate for 'The Friends' to meet this bill. A vote will be taken later in the meeting. On a separate matter, Fr Richard has proposed a small enhancement to the baptismal font. At present the font contains a stainless steel washing up bowl which is used for baptisms. A lead lining and a tap would enable the font to be used as intended without recourse to a kitchen basin. The lining and tap would cost £250, and again I recommend this project to 'The Friends' for settlement.

This leads me on to fundraising which is an essential part of our work. We are indebted to those 'Friends' and parishioners who have kindly lent their homes for coffee mornings, lunches, suppers, fetes etc. In the past year we have held a Coffee Morning, an Open Day, an Italian Lunch and a Flower Festival with Recital- all very successfully. Other fundraising activities have included participation in The Wiltshire Historic Churches Cycle Ride, for which we thank our altar servers, a Musical Evening held in St Mary's and a Skittles Night at the Red Lion. With so many parish projects vying for attention and support, we have to limit our fundraising activities to permit others a fair slice of the cake. Our 'fundraisers' therefore need to be interesting and likely to generate a good return for the hard work that they always turn out to be!

Changing the subject, I am delighted to report that our new Bishop of Clifton, Declan Lang has agreed to become a Patron as has the Rev Ken Withington who many of you will remember as the last vicar of St Mary's and an enthusiastic supporter of our presence here.

Finally I should like to thank the Committee and 'Friends' for their hard work and support. I urge you all to spread the word and encourage membership amongst your friends and neighbours. We need to maintain the momentum of our fundraising and any offers of hospitality or ideas for increasing the coffers will be warmly received. Moreover, the wider the appeal the better, as it spreads the financial burden. We are fortunate to have such a beautiful and historic church - a church that is held in considerable affection not only by ourselves but by the wider community of Cricklade. It is our privilege to be associated with its upkeep.

Treasurer's Report as at 31 October 2001

I am pleased to be able to report to the Friends of St Mary's that the financial position of the Friends remains healthy. I should like to thank all the Friends who have committed themselves so energetically and generously with their time - and with their money.

During the ten months ended 31st October 2001 the income totalled £6,713 while the expenditure amounted to only £378. This gave an excess of Income over Expenditure of £6,335.

This surplus is added to the accumulated fund at the start of the calendar year of £12,329 to give a balance at the bank of £18,664 at the end of October.

The sources of Income during the past 10 months were:

Fundraising £3,114 - including

£262 from the Skittles Night at the Red Lion organised by the Parish Social Committee towards the cost of flowers for the Flower Festival

£222 from the Italian Lunch at Cerney Wick, also for flowers for the Flower Festival

£2,561 surplus from the Flower Festival in September. (Together a total of £3,045).

Donations £1,890 - including

£1,000 bequest from the Estate of Mr Arnold Giles a retired Funeral Director of Cricklade, and former Anglican parishioner of St Mary's.

Gift Aid Donations £1,197 - including

£227 from the Inland Revenue as tax relief is clawed back.

Subscriptions from Friends amounted to £450. Bank Interest totalled £62 (paid half yearly).

Expenditure has been limited to £276 on providing carpet runners for the pews and £95 towards expenses incurred in the restoration of the altar cloth. Administration costs were £7.

The Parish Finance Committee has agreed to meet the costs of the heating installation and the rebuilding of the Boundary Wall from General Parish Funds. A grant of £1,500 from the Waylands Trust towards rebuilding of the wall will be transferred to General Parish Funds when received together with a grant of £2,500 from the Historic Churches Committee and £1,500 from the Phoenix Trust.

The Friends will meet the costs associated with the restoration of the clock, and I hope that at this meeting they will agree to pay for the window grills.

Once again, my thanks to all those who have given so generously, and my apologies for being away on business at the date of the AGM.

Tony Doyle, Treasurer

3 November 2001