- The restoration of the bells;
- The restoration of the clock face and mechanism; and
- The restoration of three of the Victorian stained glass windows (including the East Window).
It was wonderful to start 2016 having raised so much money – way beyond our expectations and to have seen much of the work completed. A lasting legacy of the fundraising is a wealth of very positive memories and engagement by the whole community. We were able to celebrate the completion of the work not least the refurbishment of the West End of the Church at our 2016 Harvest Thanksgiving. We greatly appreciate and enjoy the storage space and the catering area, but above all the look of that part of the church which has been completely transformed!
During 2016 the following took place:
- A continuation of the skills workshops including bell-ringing, tapestry, card-making, flower arranging, music, needlework including patchwork and crochet, photography, and Chinese cooking demonstration;
- Further sales of the Balcombe Recipe book;
- Murder Mystery by the Victory Players;
- Ardingly Prep School concert;
- Birchanger Open Garden;
- Hampstead Choristers;
- Silent Auction;
- Parish BBQ;
- Backbenchers’ Coffee Morning;
- English Arts Chorale Concert
We received significant support from the Friends’ of St Mary’s who specifically supported the West End project and many individuals made donations throughout the year.
During the first weekend of March 2017 an Arts weekend was held at St Mary’s that made a profit of around £1200. It was wonderful to have the church open virtually all day and into the evenings on 3 consecutive days and welcoming around 400-500 people over that period. On Friday the art exhibition was open all day and led into a concert of local contributors in the evening including members of the Victory Players, Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts, David Moore, Ethan Merrick and group and duet pieces from the musicals including the children plus community singing. On Saturday around 80 people from choirs all over Sussex came to sing excerpts from Bach’s St Matthew Passion including a run through accompanied by Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts after tea and cake. The day was facilitated by Leslie Olive and Ian le Grice. The church remained open afterwards so the art could be viewed and we were delighted to welcome all the artists to that reception including Tessa Land-Smith, Ross Thomson, Michael Noble, Barbara Saunders representing her son, Leslie Fairweather and Julie Rezac and many of the children who contributed through her workshops and from Balcombe School. Finally on Sunday the church remained open after the morning service and led into an In Conversation between Janet Canetty-Clarke and Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts covering highlights of her amazing life. The weekend concluded with a well-attended Songs of Praise
The other aspects of Events are the Parish Outings and last year we enjoyed a full trip to Highclere Castle and also to Warwick Castle – both were well supported and very enjoyable. This year we will be going to Hampton Court in May and Clarence House/Buckingham Palace in August which is already full. The enjoyment of these events is the number of people who come along who mainly live in the village, but are not necessarily part of St Mary’s immediate family.
The Day of Reflection was held in November and was also well supported as we enjoyed the insightful and thought-provoking reflections of Fr Kevin Alban, O.Carm from Aylesford Priory in Kent on our relationship with God. The meeting close to Advent and the busy-ness of Christmas was appreciated.
Future events include Birchanger Open Garden on 21st May, the Hampstead Choristers probably in June, the Parish BBQ in August, Backbenchers’ Coffee Morning on 2nd September and then the EAC Concert in December.
All donations to the appeal are very gratefully received (see donations page) as are ideas for fundraising events.