Fundraising for Horsham church organ and church roof

JPCT 150115 S15030181x  Horsham. St Mary's Church history and upkeep -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150115-125628001
JPCT 150115 S15030181x Horsham. St Mary's Church history and upkeep -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150115-125628001

The historic town and district of Horsham has hundreds of listed and ancient buildings, which continually need upkeep.

Walls subsiding, stained glass windows needing to be restored and tiles falling off roofs are just some of the ongoing maintenance issues affecting them.

JPCT 150115 S15030189x  Horsham. St Mary's Church history and upkeep -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150115-125827001

JPCT 150115 S15030189x Horsham. St Mary's Church history and upkeep -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150115-125827001

At St Mary the Virgin Parish Church in Horsham, they are currently trying to raise £250,000 to £300,000 for work that needs to be complete in the next three years.

Every five years Anglican churches across the land are inspected by a qualified architect in what is called the Quinquennial inspection.

An architect lists any work which must be carried out either immediately or with the next quinquennial period.

Church warden and long-term member at St Mary’s Steve Benson said: “We are two years in (to the Quinquennial period) now. It’s taken this long to move things forward.

JPCT 150115 S15030272x  Horsham. St Mary's Church history and upkeep -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150115-130741001

JPCT 150115 S15030272x Horsham. St Mary's Church history and upkeep -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150115-130741001

“Our church architect is preparing our initial report. They take photos, check what state the roof’s in, check the mortar and rainwater gutters, check the downpipes.

“The roof gets covered in moss - buddleia grows. It gets into the cracks. You don’t suffer so much on the south side because of the sun.”

One of the urgent items of repair is the organ. Built in 1865 with more than 2,000 pipes, 2015 marks its 150th year. It is played at all Sunday morning services and at evensong accompanying the 50-strong choir.

The church needs to raise around £15,000 to pay for repairs on the organ alone.

JPW2 020115 S15010249x Horsham. Causeway. St Mary's Church -photo by Steve Cobb

JPW2 020115 S15010249x Horsham. Causeway. St Mary's Church -photo by Steve Cobb

Verger and choir member Jane Gorrie said: “There’s leather inside which hasn’t been changed since the turn of the last century. We have lost one note. There also a huge great hole in one of the bellows.”

In December, the Government gave churches a two month window to submit bids to a £15m for roof repairs.

They could each apply for up to £100,000 and St Mary’s is hoping to be successful, but they will be raising the rest of the cash themselves.

As with many churches, they rely of the generosity of their members and parishioners to pay for the ministry and upkeep of the church.

JPCT 150115 S15030235x  Horsham. St Mary's Church history and upkeep -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 150115 S15030235x Horsham. St Mary's Church history and upkeep -photo by Steve Cobb

The Friends of St Mary’s Church provide a much appreciated support towards that.

Rev Guy Bridgewater, who has been team rector of the Horsham parish for eight years, said: “Regular giving of the congregation funds the ministry of the church.

“The Friends of St Mary’s is a half-way house between the church family and the wider community.

“People join the friends and we put on a whole range of social activities fundraising for the fabric. Those people who wouldn’t fund the ministry of the church - the clergy - but they value the church building.”

The church is in the process of setting up a fundraising group to work with the friends to help raise money needed.

For more information about getting involved in the Friends or other ways to support the church email the church office on office@stmaryshorsham.org.uk or call 01403 253762.

JPCT 150115 S15030249x  Horsham. St Mary's Church history and upkeep -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 150115 S15030249x Horsham. St Mary's Church history and upkeep -photo by Steve Cobb