The Friends of St Nicholas Church is an organisation established to raise funds for the repair and restoration of the church of St Nicholas, in Sydling St Nicholas.
In 2005 it had become apparent to the Parochial Church Council that, after the regular five-yearly architect’s inspection of our church building, repairs and restoration works were urgently required, the funding of which was beyond the scope of the income of the PCC. It was therefore decided to set up an organisation, the Friends of St Nicholas Church, to seek support, both financial and in other ways, from the village as a whole in order to raise sufficient funds to be able to begin to address the building works required.
In March 2005 a sub-committee of the PCC was set up to act as the Friends Committee, and a letter was delivered to every house in the parish asking villagers to become members of the Friends organisation. The response was tremendous; we now have over 150 members of the Friends, and have a regular income from members’ Bank Standing Orders of approximately £5,000 per annum.
Apart from the generous financial support from members by subscriptions or by Standing Order, funds have been raised by the Friends in many ways. Several outstanding concerts have taken place in the church, amongst which we have been most grateful for the visits of Collegium Regale, the choral scholars of King’s College Cambridge, the La Nova Singers from Bournemouth, and the Serendipity music group.
Other fund-raising activities have included Coffee Mornings, the sale of models of the church gargoyles (thanks to the skill of Rev Richard Gregory), and a ‘Buy a Stained Glass Window Pane’ project. Proposed activities for the future include a wine-tasting evening.
We have also enjoyed Wine Tasting Evenings presented by our local wine expert Joe Naughalty (MW) which have proved immensely popular.
We have applied for and have received most generous grants from the following grant-awarding charities:
The Dorset Historic Churches Trust
The National Historic Churches Trust
The Dulverton Trust
The Garfield Weston Foundation
The Hedley Foundation
As a result of all these fund-raising initiatives and the generosity of so many people, including some very generous legacies, by the late summer of 2007 over £56,000 had been raised. The PCC therefore applied for and has been granted a Faculty by the Chancellor of the Diocese of Salisbury approving the proposed works of restoration and renovation to the church. These works include the installation of a French drain in order to lower the water table in the churchyard to the north of the church, repair and re-leading of certain parts of the roof, repairs to the windows, works to the tower roof, re-pointing of exterior walls, and redecoration of the chancel. We do not have sufficient funds to carry out all these works immediately, but the most important ones, that is, the works designed to stop the ingress of water and damp into the fabric of the building, will be prioritised. Work should therefore commence during the month of November 2007.
Although we have had such an encouraging start to our fund-raising, much of the planned work will have to be put off until a later date when more funds will be available. The Friends are always keen to recruit new members, and we would therefore ask that, if you would like to become a member of the Friends of St Nicholas Church and help us to ensure that the church is passed on to the next generation in a good state of repair, you can complete the form below and return it to the Chairman of the Friends, Nigel Shaw, City Farmhouse, Sydling St Nicholas, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 9NX, or email him at:firstname.lastname@example.org