Jubilee Grants coming to fruition

Fifty-two churches across Suffolk are installing tributes to Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, following grants totalling £170,000 awarded by Suffolk Historic Churches Trust (SHCT).

Last year the Trustees of the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust decided to allocate £70,000 to a Jubilee Fund for projects the Trust saw as a fitting tribute to the Queen’s remarkable 70 year reign. To spread the money grant would only be awarded to projects that would not exceed £5,000, with the requested grant expected to cover the bulk if not the entire costs of the project. The fund was open to all churches, chapels and meeting houses. When 56 applications were received, totalling over £180,000, thanks to two legacies, the Trustees felt able to award £170,000 to 52 churches right across Suffolk.

The applications were many and varied, for example, in Mendlesham a noticeboard has been erected outside the church, in Hitcham carved wooden pew ends have been created, in Elmswell a seat is now outside the church, the organ at Acton is repaired and in Gt Ashfield new wooden chairs for the clergy have been installed. 

Chairman of the SHCT Grants Committee John Devaux commented ‘”The Trust is thrilled that Jubilee projects for which it awarded grants are now coming to fruition. Her Late Majesty was Patron of the National Churches Trust and I’m sure she would have been delighted to see so many projects being realised in her name in Suffolk.  We very much look forward to visiting some of the churches to admire what has been achieved.’ 

In Elmswell the new seat is there for all to use.

“The 6’ bench was installed outside the church’s late 15th century tower looking out towards the neighbouring village of Woolpit and the old churchyard. A commemorative plaque was included with it and it has been secured with tamper-proof installation bolts! It is both a fitting tribute to her late Majesty and an ornament to the overall church landscape. We are extremely grateful to the SHCT for their generous funding of this project which will be enjoyed by many people in Elmswell” said Mike Schofield, Church Treasurer for St John’s Church, Elmswell. 

Mendlesham are pleased with their noticeboard, standing proudly outside St Mary’s church.

“Our new noticeboard was blessed after Parish Mass by my husband, Father Philip Gray. It was fully paid for by a generous grant from the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Fund of Suffolk Historic Churches Trust and was installed by the Church Noticeboard Company. We feel it is a fitting tribute in memory of the late Queen and a great addition to the churchyard,” said Ann Gray. 

Nicola Currie, Secretary of the Friends of Hitcham Church, explained the idea behind their new pew ends.

“It was decided to have not one but two oak panels carved, one to record our Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the other the parish’s care of the church building at Hitcham, over the same period. These would be fitted to the pew ends at the back of the Nave as these are the first ones seen by visitors to the church. We were keen to keep it simple to fit with our church so we opted for the Queen’s crown and words ‘70 years Dedication and Service’ and ‘70 years Repair and Restoration’ under a carving of Hitcham church cradled in cupped hands.

“Expert Suffolk wood carver and member of the Master Carvers’ Association, Robert Lewis, took such care over our project,” she continued. “We particularly love the way the grain of the oak has made the hands on the parish panel look as though they belong to someone who has been very hard working …as the work is never ending when caring for a medieval building. It seemed fitting to include the care of our church as the whole project was paid for by the SHCT, who have helped us so much in the past.’  

The new chairs at Great Ashfield are part of a bigger project.

“As part of our Chancel Reordering Project at All Saints Church, Great Ashfield, the pews were removed to give us more space for activities both liturgical and social which was not offered by the seated interior. The project also involved some replastering, new lighting, and radiators as well as decorating. We were so delighted that our application for a Jubilee Grant was accepted, enabling us to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with the purchase of two Clergy Chairs and matching side tables. A wonderful way for our Church and Village to mark this very special occasion,” said a delighted Stephen Miles.

Christopher Moss from All Saints, Acton:

“With the help of a grant of £3907 we were able to undertake a full clean and refurbishment of our single manual Walker Organ which was obtained by Bishop and Son, Ipswich from Whitton Church in 1982 and installed in our church in 1983. The last major rebuild of the organ had been undertaken in 1870.” he explained. 

The results of the successful applications are now beginning to be seen across the county while others are in progress. 

Another project will be dedicated at St Mary’s Church, in Raydon in November.

“Our church here in Raydon has used an SHCT Jubilee Grant to commission a painting of the Royal Arms of King Charles III to hang on the blank west wall of St Mary’s. We believe it will be the first one in Suffolk. We had hoped to have Queen Elizabeth Arms but her death meant we had to change to one of the King. It will be unveiled on 26th November at morning service, ” said Simon Tennent, Vice- President of SHCT and member of Raydon church. 

SHCT continue to award grants towards church building projects, four times a year. Details are on this website https://shct.org.uk/grants/

Churches awarded Jubilee Grants:

St Mary Magdalene, Debenham – weather vane

St Mary’s, Kersey- 3 new windows, white with a red, white and blue highlight in the centre

St Andrews Brockely – wheelchair ramp

St Michaels Beccles – lectern

St Marys Kentford – handrail

St Peter and St Paul, Fressingfield – door curtain and altar cloth

St Peter’s Acton – refurbish organ

All Saints, Hitcham – bench end panels

St Mary’s Raydon – Royal Coat of Arms 

St Johns Denham – porch commemorative window

All Saints, Hollesley – catering unit

St John, Elmswell – achurchyard bench

St Mary’s Withersfield – clock restoration

St Edmund, Assington – mobile servery unit

St Nicholas, Thelnetham – 25 kneeler kits 

St Peters Thurston – notice boards

All Saints, Sproughton – organ modification

St Mary’s Hinderclay – sound system

St Marys  Mendelsham-  noticeboard  by the gate

Bradfield St George – restore sundial

St Marys Pakenham – tea urn

St Andrew Cotton – replace QEll Coronation Light

St Peter Hepworth – automatic clock winder

St Andrew, GT Finborogh – glazed porch doors

Holy Trinity, Long Melford – eight flower stands

St Marys Nettlestead – churchyard bench

St Bartholomew’s, Ingham – churchyard wall

St Peter, Spexhall – restore creed boards

St Mary’s Walsham le Willows – replace flags and curtain

St Marys Dennington – churchyard gates

St Gregory’s Barnham – conservation of hatchment

All Saints, Gt Ashfield – Clergy chairs 

St Mary at the Elms Ipswich – remote bell chimer

All Saints, Worlington – churchyard gates

All Saints, Chelsworth – restore the font

St Mary’s, Martlesham – Jubilee garden

All Saints, Stanton -altar

All Saints, Stuston – bird doors in porch

St Mary’s, Worlingworth – organ bellows

SS Mary’s and Botolph, Whitton– window roundel

St Mary’s, Clopton- altar repositioning

St Mary’s, Bures – live stream videoing

St Nicholas, Hintlesham – restore two hatchments

All saints, Hartest – display boards

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