SHCT Friends AGM 2021 – Chairman’s Report

At the Friends of SHCT AGM 2021

On Monday 11th October, the Trust Chairman, Geoffrey Probert welcomed all present to Haughley Park Barns for the first Annual Meeting since 2019 (last year’s having been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic):  

The 2020 Ride and Stride and Pedal and Drive was a great success, with £192,000 raised in one day.  We think we have granted about £7 million to the churches and chapels of Suffolk since the inception of the Trust.  

A fortnightly e-letter – ‘The Churches and Chapels Chat’ – was established during the pandemic, with contributions from SHCT Trustees and other supporters.  This has been well received and will be continued.  

The GS2222 proposals from the Church of England, aimed at simplifying existing legislation so as “to manage the disposal of churches no longer needed for public worship” are proving contentious.  SHCT is facilitating responses to the proposals by requesting its network of area and local Ride and Stride organisers to raise awareness of the issues involved with a view to inviting comments and representations.

Yalda Davis has completed her project to raise money for SHCT, The Churches Conservation Trust and The Suffolk Wildlife Trust by playing her cello in all of Suffolk’s 511 medieval churches and chapels.  She started in April 2017 and ended at St Bartholomew’s, Orford in September 2021.  This has been a remarkable achievement, bringing wonderful music to Suffolk’s beautiful churches while helping to raise money for their preservation.

Various changes are pending within the ranks of SHCT Trustees.  Martin Favell has indicated his intention to step down at the end of the current financial year in April 2022.  Martin’s lengthy contribution to the Trust, as Treasurer for twelve years then Chairman for seven years, has been immense.  Patrick Grieve is also standing down, handing over the Chairmanship of the Ride and Stride to Simon Ronan.  Again, Patrick’s contribution to the success of the Trust, particularly as Chairman of the Trust’s leading fundraising event (which he took over in 2008), is hard to overstate.  Simon Tennent will be retiring as a Trustee in the near future.  Simon was for many years Secretary of the Grants Committee, and his experience and good sense have been greatly valued.  Thankfully, Simon will continue to serve on the Grants Committee.  Finally, Mike Kiely, who has fewer years to his name as our Hon Secretary, is moving on but what he lacks in years he has more than compensated for in his efficiency, hard work and helpfulness.

We are grateful to Bishop Mike Harrison for joining us this evening as our speaker and for the support he and Bishop Martin gave us this year in publicising the Ride and Stride.

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