The church of St Peter & St Paul, Honing (pictured above) was the venue for the 47th Norfolk Churches Trust AGM on Wednesday 13th September. As members of the Trust gathered in the church, the late afternoon sunshine streamed in through the west window – its radiance lit up the interior and set the tone for a most enjoyable and very well attended evening.
Lord Dannatt, the President of the Trust opening the meeting by welcoming everyone to Honing, and thanked the Rector, the Rev Helen Lynch and the PCC for hosting the event. He moved on to thank all the Trustees, members of the Advisory Council and other volunteers whose unstinting efforts arranging fundraising events provide the funds for grants for urgent repairs. Lord Dannatt congratulated Charles Inglis and the Bike Ride committee on another successful event which was held two days after the Queen died in September 2022. The sponsorship received in 2022 took the total raised since the event was first run by the Trust in 1983 to over £4 million.
John Maddison, the Chairman of the Trust presented his annual report, highlighting the main achievements of the year. Grants totalling £144,400 were awarded to thirty-seven churches, and grants previously awarded totalling £157,029 were paid out to churches that had completed their repairs. Top billing for fundraising events went to the Stately Car Boot Sale, held at Sennowe Park in May which as ever was incredibly well supported and raised a staggering £81,850. Thanks to Mr & Mrs Temple-Richards for allowing the Trust to hold the event at Sennowe again. The Bike Ride raised £133,890 to be shared with the churches being sponsored by the riders. John thanked Caroline Egerton for her many years as a Trustee – she holds the rare distinction of being Chairman twice. He also thanked Scilla, Caryl and Helen for their work administering the Trust throughout the year.
Our Hon Treasurer, David Missen presented his report and with great clarity led the meeting through the summary of the finance statements. There were no questions, and the annual accounts were unanimously agreed. The remainder of the meeting was taken up with elections to the Board of Trustees and the Advisory Council.
Laura McGillivray and John Maddison
Lord Dannatt introduced our speaker Laura McGillivray, the Chairman of the Bishop of Norwich’s Church Buildings Commission. The Commission was established to consider a wide range of concerns about the impact of declining congregations and clergy numbers, combined with declining availability of major grants and state aid. Laura’s illuminating talk covered all areas of the commission’s remit and its recommendations. Lord Dannatt invited questions from the audience which led to a lively discussion that continued into the traditional interval for refreshments which had been most generously laid on by members of the Trust.
The evening ended with Evensong led by the Rev Helen Lynch.