Church Friends launch sees community come together

The Friends of St John the Baptist Church, Findon, Committee.  From left to right, back row: Ian Hollyhomes, Tessa McCormick, Monica Eastabrook, John Croft, Dominic Caldicott; front row: Hugh Wyatt, Gerald Hibbs, Rev. Helena Buqu� and Jacqui Greaney, plus photographer Richard Bell
The Friends of St John the Baptist Church, Findon, Committee. From left to right, back row: Ian Hollyhomes, Tessa McCormick, Monica Eastabrook, John Croft, Dominic Caldicott; front row: Hugh Wyatt, Gerald Hibbs, Rev. Helena Buqu� and Jacqui Greaney, plus photographer Richard Bell
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More than 60 people attended the recent Friends of St John the Baptist Church launch event.

A cheese and wine party was held at Findon Place, next door to the church, on Sunday, May 14, to enable those who were interested to find out all about the new community fundraising initiative.

Gerald Hibbs, chairman of the Friends, said: “This church has a thousand years of history and we need to preserve it. As with all historic buildings St John’s is in need of constant attention to keep both the internal and external fabric properly maintained, whether it’s the roof, the boiler, the organ or the stained glass windows.”

Findon’s Parochial Church Council, which has ultimate responsibility for care of the church, needs the support of the much wider community to supplement the donations received from the congregation. The lack of funds is putting at risk the safe retention of these buildings and the legacy of the craftsmanship that created them.

Gerald said: “We have formed The Friends of St John the Baptist Church which will be a charitable trust for the restoration, preservation, repair, maintenance and improvement of the church and of the monuments, fittings, fixtures, stained glass, furniture, ornaments and chattels in the church and of the churchyard. Our only goal is to secure the long term existence of the church and its property for the enjoyment of future generations.”

The Friends would like to get in touch with people who were perhaps married at St John the Baptist Church, or whose children may have been baptised there. People who might like to make a donation or become a member of The Friends in recognition of their happy day. The aim is to help ensure that future generations can also enjoy this special place in years to come.

The trust is being organised by an enthusiastic and energetic committee of volunteers with specialist skills. Fundraising will be from annual subscription (a suggested minimum of £10 per household per annum) and legacies from those who might consider mentioning St John the Baptist Church in their will. Future planned fundraising events include the current priest Reverend Helena Buqué’s sponsored sky dive in July, an art exhibition in the church and a members’ annual dinner. Supporters are also invited to help, if able, with seasonal team churchyard clear-ups and church cleaning events.

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