Andrew McKearney writes: 

Our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund has not been successful. Demand for funds was such that not every good application could receive a grant and our need was not deemed as urgent as others. A copy of the letter received is available at the back of church.

The PCC believes that the Conservation of the West Front and South Door (approx. £60,000) together with the essential electrical works (approx £15,000) are too urgent and important to delay any further. The Vicar and Churchwardens will therefore proceed with these, assisted by the church architect. A full presentation and discussion will be made at the Annual Parochial Church meeting.

Financial help will be sought from the Friends of St Mary’s (who have already offered £15,000) and other donors, inevitably drawing very significantly on parish reserves. It will be important to ensure that the parish reserves are built up as quickly as possible to the £50,000 that has previously been considered prudent for the church building. Indeed this experience demonstrates the importance of having such parish reserves.

The PCC has fully endorsed the educational activity plan, headed up by Penny Tyack and Bill Beaver, which has also been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund and for which the outcome is expected on 16 May.

In these circumstances the PCC has resolved that no further work can be carried out or expenditure incurred with regard to proposals to install new lavatories at the church, landscaping the churchyard, or establishing better church office space, until the vital conservation and electrical works have been completed and the PCC can assess the resultant state of the parish finances. However the PCC has asked Bill Beaver to pursue any possible grants for the electrical works by 21 May and make preliminary enquiries about possible grants for the lavatories, the landscaping and the church office space.

Finally we all owe a very warm thank-you to Bill Beaver and all who have worked tirelessly to put together the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund – it has been a significant achievement, nothing has been wasted and it has opened our eyes to new possibilities, for all of which we are deeply grateful.