Committee Members – 2017-18
Mike Gibbons – Chairman , Alison Bean – Treasurer, – Secretary, David Baker, Evelyn Baker, Jean Jeavons, Kate Latham and Sue Ward. Also elected is an Events Helpers Group of five members.
The Friends of St Mary’s was started to raise money to support the church building. The Friends organisation is simply there to keep the fabric of the church in the best possible condition for this and future generations of villagers so it raises money to be spent on the renovation and restoration.
Over the twenty years since the Friends was started, the five-yearly architect inspections have led to most of the building stonework being repointed; many of the windows renewed and all of them restored; various other external items including part of the church wall and much redecoration internally. That has cost over £100,000, all raised by villagers.
The Friends fundraising comes from four principal sources – the annual Bletsoe Fete which has grown during this period from being a little church fete to a major event that benefits both the church and the Village Hall; the annual Plant Sale which is big North Bedfordshire attraction on the last Sunday in April every year; donations and covenants from villagers and, finally, events.
Our events have often featured music and food – jazz and sausages; choirs and canapes; village concerts; safari suppers; victorian breakfasts; Roman & Tudor banquets plus The Bletsoe Village Quiz Night and many other events. The Friends are very grateful for the many friends who support the organisation!
In the last five years, the Friends has repaired the cracked West End wall, sunken floors in the Nave & St John Chapel and repairs & redecoration to the Nave & Vestry. Now the work is underway to restore the East End window and the old chancel which will cost at least £250,00. Grants from various bodies and a fund raising appeal to villagers and friends is now underway.
So there’s never a chance to rest on your laurels and we’re very grateful to all who help & support the work of the Friends. Thank you!