Over the years, we have been extremely fortunate to secure some fine speakers for our Annual General Meetings. During his time in office at Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams was a great supporter of the Trust and the work we do and it was with special pleasure that we were able to welcome him back to the Marsh to address us at this year’s AGM. All Saints, Lydd was filled almost to capacity to hear him speak and we are so grateful that he could find time in his busy schedule to be with us. Clearly he is as much in demand as he ever was and a sharp dash to Ashford after his address ensured that he was on a train to Sheffield in time for an evening engagement.
It was very appropriate that Lydd served as our venue as it gave those of us attending a chance to see for ourselves the restoration that has been carried out – and is still ongoing – over recent years. For a small town and community it is a daunting task but huge credit must go to all those involved with the work. However, whilst many dedicate themselves to restoring and maintaining their churches there are those – thankfully only a few – who regard them as easy targets and it was with a mixture of both sorrow and anger that at the beginning of September we heard there had been a serious break-in at Lydd. Whilst not much of value had been taken, a leaded window had been smashed and the kitchen area broken into. All capable of repair but nevertheless a waste of time and money that could have been better directed elsewhere.
The majority of our grants go towards restoration and maintenance of the churches we support but our constitution allows us to make grants towards related matters surrounding the churches or the curtilage as the legal profession call it. One of the more unusual grants we made this year was at St Augustine, Brookland where eight tombs, dating from the mid 18th century, were in urgent need of repair. The work is being carried out in two phases and in total is likely to cost in the order of £30,000 when finally complete. At St Clement’s Old Romney, I’m pleased to be able to report that the majority of the work has now been completed with just some internal painting to be finalised.
Once again our tours have proved particularly popular and it is gratifying to receive a number of messages of thanks from those attending; a clear testimony to the eloquence and efforts of our two principals, John Hendy and Joan Campbell.I had the opportunity to join one of the Members’ Tours earlier in the year and apart from an excellent day out, it was a chance to catch up with old friends and perhaps recruit some new members.
The Latin Mass Society returned to St Augustine,Snave for what was now their third year. For those who might like a rather different experience, this is a marvellous service with some truly exceptional singing. Our thanks go to the Society for bringing Snave to life and also to Mrs Marigold Turner who does so much to organise the service and who also provides post service refreshments!
Accompanying this Newsletter is our usual order form for our Christmas cards. This year we have four very different cards and judging by the sales so far this year, I believe they will be a very popular selection. We have managed to keep the cost unchanged at £5 for 10 cards, unlike the Royal Mail which increases its postal charges annually…
We live in uncertain times but I always take comfort that the Marsh churches have lived through many more difficult periods in our history and with our help and your support, they will continue not just to survive but thrive!