2017 was a significant year for our church. Following the approval from the DAC and the Chancellor at the end of 2016, we started fund raising in May to realise the plans that we had proposed. Our church plays an important role in the life of the village, but this is only one venue for all the activities taking place in a thriving village. Under the heading of ‘Barrowden on the Move’, we have been contributing to the development of a village hub which takes into account all the changes and activities that the village is considering. It is part of our objectives, with the re-ordering project, to be able to offer a wide range of facilities for the village, adding to the hub principle but not competing with other locations.
We had four sessions throughout the year where volunteers tidied up the churchyard and cleaned inside the church. During the year we also disposed of a range of surplus equipment. Our bell ringers continue to maintain the bells and their associated elements. We have some ingress of water into the tower which needs to be fixed and we have submitted to the DAC specifications of the work that needs to be carried out.
We have also identified problems with the chancel roof which will require a major refurbishment to the structure. The specifications for this have also been sent to the DAC for consideration.
When we started fundraising for the re-ordering, we concentrated on three areas which were local contributions, grants and events. We had a very positive response from the village where people donated one off payments or spread out payments over a three-year period. Steve Preston has headed up all our applications to grant giving bodies and commercial enterprises. This has been quite an undertaking as each application has to be tailored to the interests of the potential donors. So far, we have attracted funding from 11 bodies supporting the project.
Peter Voller has been co-ordinating our events programme and we are very grateful to Alison Tebbit, John Comber, Jean Swinbanks and John and Carol Harding for their support in organising these during 2017.
We sold the organ early in the year and replaced it with a Thirlmere two manual 30 stop organ from Church Organ World. The organ has been put in a temporary situation until the full re-ordering has been carried out.
The Churchwardens from the Benefice have worked very cooperatively over the past years, particularly with regards to parish shares and expenses. Chris Armstrong has further encouraged us to engage more widely on events and other projects within our parishes. The Benefice website was set up during the year and we are grateful for all who have been involved, particularly Gordon Brown and Rosamund Cotton.
We would also like to thank all the people who have contributed to the upkeep of the church building, who have helped with services, brass cleaners, flower arranging, flower bed maintenance and refreshments. We also thank the Bell ringers for their wonderful pealing of our bells. We are also very fortunate to have John Comber and Philip Riley playing the organ throughout the year and our thanks goes to them both and to Jean Swinbanks for her beautiful piano playing.
We look forward to the rest of the year when we hope that we may be able to start the work in the church which is such an important part for the future of the village.
Martin Beattie and Kay Bagshaw 02/03/2018