Chairman’s Annual Report 2015
It gives me great pleasure to present our annual accounts to you and in particular to be able to report that your Trust is in good heart. Membership remains very stable at about 1,100 and with the Trust’s assets now in the region of £800,000 we can look forward to regular investment income to supplement the income we receive from other sources such as sales of Christmas cards, Tours and the like.
Mindful that the requirements of the churches we support will only increase, over the years we have tried to build up our own resources so that we would be able to generate sufficient investment income to support our grant giving objectives. Much of this was achieved under the skilful chairmanship of my immediate predecessor, James Took who sadly died just after Christmas. James was a true countryman, a keen and accomplished fisherman, an authority on birds and of course with a great love of the Marsh and its churches. As a Trust, we were fortunate to have such a dedicated and enthusiastic chairman and whilst we mourn his passing we give thanks for his immense contribution.
Many of you will be aware of the extensive renovation work required at All Saints, Lydd which is now under way. This is an ongoing project and will take some years before finally complete but we stand ready to continue with our support which to date has totalled some £55,000. In my Autumn Newsletter I referred to our concerns at the increasing costs of the restoration of the west window at St George’s Ivychurch. Progress is rather slow and they are still awaiting the grant of the faculty before work can start. We hope this will be forthcoming in the relatively near future but in the meantime, the church has now been placed on the “At Risk” Register by English Heritage.
One of the least visited of all the churches is All Saints Burmarsh. For some years, this delightful little Norman church has often looked rather neglected but the interior has now been beautifully restored and is well worth a visit. The Trust has contributed £14,000 towards the restoration and will be making a further grant to improve access and the pathway leading to the church.
None of these projects would have been possible if it were not for the generosity and support of our members. During the course of the year we received two significant legacies totalling some £95,000 and it is sums like this that really make the difference. Legacies are a very straightforward means of supporting the Trust and may I gently suggest that if any of you are considering writing or re-writing your Wills in the near future, you might think of including us. There is no Inheritance Tax payable on moneys left to charities so the benefit to us is significant.
As most of you know, the Trust is run on an entirely voluntary basis and we all owe a great debt of gratitude to those who give of their time so freely. Ian Meier, our Treasurer, Elizabeth Marshall our Secretary, John Hendy our Tours leader, David Hanbury, our Membership Secretary and of course John Doyle our President. To all of them and others, not on the Council but who nevertheless support us in many different ways, our grateful thanks.
We are always on the look out for new Members of the Council and I am delighted to report that recently we have made two new appointments. Graham Maple, a retired district judge with experience and knowledge of both churches and charities has agreed to join the Council. So too has Jo Thompson, the daughter of a farmer and married to one, who brings an important link between the Trust and the farming community of the Marsh. We welcome them both on to the Council. Our Constitution requires them to submit themselves for re-election at the Annual General Meeting following their appointment and you will find a resolution to that effect in the Notice of Meeting which accompanies this Report.
This year, our AGM will be held, slightly later than usual, on 4th June at St George’s Ivychurch. Our speaker will be the Right Reverend Michael Turnbull, CBE, Bishop of Rochester from 1988 to 1994 and Bishop of Durham from 1994 until his retirement in 2003. As usual, the meeting will be preceded by lunch – at Brenzett Village Hall. Details are enclosed.
Other dates for the diary. Once again, we will be running two Members’ tours – hosted as usual by Joan Campbell and Elizabeth Marshall. The first one will be on Saturday 30th July with a further tour on 17th September. The annual service of Thanksgiving at Snave will be on Sunday 11th September. In my last Newsletter, I referred to the Latin Mass held at Snave last year. What struck many of us who were present was that the acoustics within the church, when full, are fantastic and those of you who are able to come to our service and wish to bring friends, will be very welcome.
Sales of Christmas cards last year were highly satisfactory and for this year we will have two new cards – one of St Augustine, Brookland, the other of St Mary in the Marsh – both snow scenes and both from photographs generously provided by David Campbell. They will be available for sale at the AGM and of course on the Members’ Tours.
Whilst the churches we support very much remind us of the past, there are a number of projects which we hope will help secure the future viability of the Marsh and its communities. The Marsh’s cultural heritage is diverse and distinctive and initiatives such as JAM on the Marsh, a multi-arts and musical festival, and the Fifth Continent Partnership which promotes a variety of programmes including historical research, special habitats for wildlife, arts and recreation are to be applauded. The Marsh must not become a museum!
Summarised Financial Statements 2015
You may view and print the Summarised Financial Statements for 2015.