Coronavirus update – August 2020
As previously advised, the administration of the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust will continue to function during the Covid-19 pandemic, and correspondence, emails and telephone calls received at our office in Long Melford will be dealt with as usual. We are always happy to hear from members and supporters about Trust-related matters. In particular, we remain open for business for grants applications (details on the Grants tab).
In order to accommodate the restrictions imposed by the government in response to the pandemic, the Trust continues to keep its normal programme of events under review.
It is hoped to hold the Trust’s Annual Service, which had been scheduled to take place in July, later in the year, hopefully in mid-October, at St Peter & St Paul’s church, Aldeburgh. Full details of the Service will appear on the News and Events page of the website and in our Autumn Newsletter, which we aim to publish in early September.
We are continuing to prepare for our main fundraising event of the year, the Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride, which together with its associated event the Pedal and Drive is due to take place on Saturday, 12 September 2020. Currently, barring any unforeseen problems, we are hopeful that the event will go ahead, subject to complying with the legal and practical requirements surrounding the pandemic.
We will continue to update our members and supporters on developments.
The Suffolk Historic Churches Trust was founded in 1973 as a result of the growing awareness of the threat to these ancient and historic buildings. A combination of rising repair costs, dwindling congregations and hopelessly inadequate parish or community resources meant that many of the churches were facing redundancy and closure.
Led by the inspiration and determination of the 11th Duke of Grafton and supported by the Hon. Jill Ganzoni, Norman Scarfe (one of Suffolk’s most eminent historians), and Alfred Williams of Haughley Park, the Trust was launched in December 1973.
Since then the Trust has raised and distributed over five million pounds to help with the repair and maintenance of these churches. The Trust is non-denominational and all churches, chapels and meeting houses are eligible to apply for grants.
The Trust derives its income from membership of its Friends organisation, donations, grants and legacies and in particular from the annual sponsored Ride and Stride, held in September each year.
The landscape of Suffolk would look very different without the 500 medieval churches the county can be so proud of. Then there is the role of non-conformist chapels and meeting houses in our history. Even non-worshipping members of communities appreciate that it is worth the time and money involved in preserving churches and chapels for future generations. (For more details of why Suffolk’s religious buildings are important to the local economy, click here)