drawing by the late Anthony Hill
copyright Helena Hill 1997

The Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church - What's New?


VINTAGE BUS RALLY AND
LEATHERHEAD OPEN GARDENS SUNDAY 9th JULY 2017

The Friends are pleased to announce that in conjunction with the LRA we will be repeating last year’s highly successful Vintage Bus Rally and Leatherhead Open Gardens. Hopefully the weather will be kinder to us this year! Meanwhile we urgently need to add to our stock of open gardens.
Gardens can be large or small, formal or informal, combining a love of flowers, trees or shrubs or given over to the cultivation of fruit or vegetables.
ALL will be of interest to people with a love of horticulture or seeking new ideas or designs.
Would you be prepared to volunteer? Perhaps you know of a neighbour, friend or family member in the Ashtead, Leatherhead, Fetcham “triangle ” whom we could approach?
If so please contact Chris Evans, Chairman FLPC L372169 or Cheryl Allen Chair of the LRA Environmental Committee L370091.

For other news see below


The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church took place in the Parish Church Hall on the evening of Friday 12th May - from the July 2017 parish magazine

An enthusiastic audience of members heard the Committee report on a highly successful twelve months of fundraising for the Church (see below for Chairman's Report to Members). Support was expressed for a number of specific elements within the Church Project "Making History for the next 1000 years" which will address current problems within the Church building of unstable and rotting flooring, poor and inefficient heating and unreliable and potentially dangerous electrical circuitry. The committee will therefore consider favourably any requests from the PCC for assistance in these areas.

The focus then shifted towards marketing the FLPC more effectively as a fundraising charity and increasing the current membership. Whereas the issue in 2016 of the new explanatory leaflet and application form for membership was a step in the right direction, members felt that more could be done. Summing up the discussion the Chairman stressed how much of current fundraising success was dependent on the dedication and efforts of a tiny number of committee and helpers. More volunteers were therefore needed from the membership to supplement their efforts. Our thanks to Sonia Grove for the refreshments which then ensured a lively ongoing debate on the issues raised during the meeting!

Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church - Chairman’s Report 2017
I am delighted to report on another highly successful year of fundraising. Annual events such as the Quiz and Bridge Tea continue to be well attended and enthusiastic support of the raffles more than made up for a slight drop in ticket sales and an increase in costs. We were very unfortunate that Open Gardens in June coincided with an unseasonably cold and wet spell of weather. This was however more than compensated later in the year by the exceptional generosity of the Leatherhead DFAS. A massive £1,800 was gifted by LeDFAS from the sale of tickets to their Christmas by Candlelight concert in the Parish Church and a retiring collection.

By the end of our financial year we had raised a total of £6,099 excluding interest and legacies compared with £5,679 in the comparable period last year.
There is never any lack of projects in and around the Church which call for financial assistance. This is in addition to the sterling work carried out in the Graveyard on the first Saturday of every month by Frank Haslam and his team. As reported in my Januaiy letter, water leaking into the void between the boiler room and the lower vestry floor resulted in rotting of the supporting timbers and flooring over a wide area and ultimately to its collapse. The PCC commissioned repairs and submitted a claim on their insurance, the outcome of which is still unknown. We were pleased to be in a position this year to respond to another request from the PCC to assist with the costs of renewing the boundary fencing between the Graveyard and Worple Road. Apart from any danger to the public, the overgrown and unstable fencing was a permanent source of complaint by local residents and impeded our efforts to maintain the area surrounding the Church to a high standard. The Committee therefore approved a grant of £4,676 to cover the total cost of the work inclusive of the removal of a number of yew trees which for years have hidden from view the North Porch and Transept of the Church.

Meanwhile, progress continues to be made on plans by the PCC to re-order the interior of the Church building. FLPC members were invited to join the Congregation at presentations in the Church at the beginning of March. They were shown how it is intended to restore many of the architectural features of the mediaeval Church by freeing up space for a wider series of community activities; also how, using modem technology, the story of its heritage can be better told. An important objective will be to attract more visitors to the Church and to Leatherhead.

Following these presentations the Committee met to discuss and to agree principles and guidelines governing both future grants to the Church and fundraising which could then be submitted for discussion and approval by members at the Annual General Meeting.

The FLPC is bound by its constitution and charitable status to assist with the maintenance of the Church and its surroundings, ensuring it is passed on to future generations to use and enjoy as much as we do today. The Committee sees no reason to diverge from these aims. Indeed they are not incompatible with being willing to contribute towards any work inside the Church which guarantees or extends the life of the existing structure and addresses long standing issues of maintenance, repair, replacement or restoration. Thus any approach by the PCC for assistance for help with, for example, replacement of the current dangerous or unstable flooring, inefficient heating system or outdated electrical circuitry could be viewed favourably.

I cannot end my report without once again thanking you, our loyal membership base, for your continued support.

We have worked hard this year to increase our profile as a Charity and I would therefore be grateful of any assistance you could give us in increasing our membership. Additional copies of the new membership leaflet are available from any member of the Committee for distribution to interested parties including friends and neighbours and other family members.

We are also much in need of practical support in organising fund raising as well as ideas for increasing and diversifying the number of events we organise each year. Please do not hold back! Any contribution in time or support will be gratefully received and respected.
Chris Evans Chairman FLPC

"The Winning Team"  - from the April 2017 magazine
After six rounds of intensive competition the Winning Team at the FLPC's Annual Quiz Night in the Parish Church Hall showed off their Easter Egg prizes.
A new format this year attracted a near record entry of 15 tables and over 100 enthusiastic contestants. This was not a competition which advantaged any section of the community or age group, with questions ranging from the date of the Great Train Robbery to the signature tune of the BBC's "Match of the Day" or the national flag of Greenland. As the pace quickened and tension grew towards the end of the evening a team with almost no incorrect answers in the first five rounds risked forfeiting its lead in a last round worth twice as many points.
In his closing remarks Chairman Chris Evans expressed his gratitude to Quizmaster Julian Steed and the Committee for organising such a successful - and challenging - Quiz night. He was particularly grateful to members, their families and friends for their continuing loyalty and generosity in supporting FLPC fund raising events. Presenting a cheque to the Rector for £1,000, mostly raised by the Quiz, he hoped that more people in Leatherhead and the surrounding area with an interest in maintaining and preserving the Church for future generations could be encouraged to join the FLPC and lend their support to future fund raising.
Chris Evans

"Winning Tricks" - from the December 2016 magazine

 
No...not a Birthday Party for two year olds but a serious business as 60 Bridge Players from North Surrey gathered at this year's annual Friends Bridge Tea in the Parish Church Hall on Wednesday 9th November.

One of several objectives meriting the coveted "2" Balloon was to win their trick with the smallest numbered card in the pack.

So it was "eyes down" until at the half way stage a delicious tea was served of handmade sandwiches and home-baked cakes.

Thanks are due to Fran Fleming and Jackie Hampton and all members of the Friends Committee whose collective hard work made for a most enjoyable afternoon of Bridge as well as raising additional funds for repairs currently being undertaken in the Church.

Chris Evans


from the November 2016 magazine

The Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church treasure Leatherhead's most beautiful mediaeval building and are determined to follow the example of previous generations, across the centuries, who handed it over to our care.
We are eternally grateful for the generosity of our members who support our efforts to maintain the Church and its surroundings.

However, sometimes nature conspires against us and the corrosive agencies of time and weather wreak havoc with our intentions.
We are currently facing the challenges of the recent collapse of the vestry floor and storm damage to the trees and fences in the Churchyard.

We need your help, both in gaining new members and assisting us in organising fund-raising events.
If you are already a member we will be writing to you shortly inviting you to renew your membership from 1st January 2017.
If you are not a member and would like to know more before joining us, please contact our Membership Secretary, Fran Fleming, on L375957.
Similarly, if you have friends or relations living in the area who might be interested in joining or giving of their time to assist us - in whatever way suits them - we would be delighted to hear from them.
Chris Evans
Chairman of the FLPC (L372169

Leatherhead Open Gardens - June 2016 Sponsored by the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church and the Leatherhead Residents' Association - from the July 2016 magazine

Sunday 12th June dawned under cloudy skies and by 10.00am it was raining hard, dampening the hopes of the fourteen garden owners participating in this year's Leatherhead Open Gardens - all of whom had worked so hard to bring their gardens to peak perfection in the weeks before.

The event had also been timed to coincide with a Vintage Bus Rally with two former London Transport Green Line buses "commandeered" to take visitors on a loop between Randalls Road,

Ashtead, and Givons Grove Estate with stops along the way at gardens on display and ending at the Parish Church where a delicious selection of sandwiches cakes and cream teas was served throughout the afternoon. Finally the clouds began to clear and the sun tempted more people out. Riding in buses last seen on routes in Surrey thirty to forty years ago also proved a great draw and just as big a surprise to those out for a Sunday stroll! Happily most of the gardens reported a steady stream of visitors, helped no doubt by the novel means of transport. We would like to express our thanks to our visitors, to all the garden owners, our team of helpers in the Parish Church and last but not least the vintage bus owners and drivers who came from all over South East England to make it such a unique day.

Chris Evans

Our 2016 Annual General Meeting took place in the Parish Church Hall on 22 May 2016. Afterwards Paul Pickering gave a talk on The Benedictines.

Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church Chairman’s Report May 2016 - from the July 2016 magazine

Many of our members reading this report will be familiar with its more regular content. Once again we have raised a significant amount of money during the last twelve months to assist in maintaining the fabric and grounds of the Parish Church. This has been the result of hard work by your Committee and continuing support of fund raising events from our members. All of this money has been used judiciously: to tackle work which we have suggested to the Parochial Church Council (PCC) as being necessary or for which they have approached us for help. Any excess has been added to our reserves in anticipation of longer term needs identified in the last Quinquennial Review. Full details are contained in the Financial Accounts.

What has changed is that we are a big step closer to knowing what the PCC would like to do to fulfil their aim of "putting the Parish Church at the centre of the Community." This includes not only their priorities but also the timescale and potential costs. As anticipated, the re-ordering will involve welcome improvements in flooring, heating and lighting. More of the pews will give way to flexible seating, enabling the Church to be used for events which it currently cannot accommodate and on more days of the week. Such investment will, in our view, enhance our chances of guaranteeing a future for this historic building and passing it on to the next generation in a state which they might consider more "fit for purpose." The active involvement of the FLPC is being sought and we will be allowed to comment in detail on changes to the fabric of this cherished building.

What is clear is that a prodigious amount of money will need to be raised and immense effort expended to deliver such a project within the planned two year timescale. Although a proportion of what will be required has been identified, the investment required would dwarf anything attempted by the FLPC in the past and would be beyond our current limited people resources. Whereas we might aim to double or even triple our annual targets the role of the FLPC will be predominantly supportive and complementary to those of the main PCC Funding Team. We believe our strength in attracting support lies in the non-denominational nature of our charity stressing our objective of assisting with the maintenance and enhancement of the building itself.

One other major development this year will greatly assist us as work proceeds on the Church. The FLPC has been the beneficiary of two very significant legacies. We are amazingly privileged. It is also a tremendous tribute to the FLPC to have been chosen by people associated with the Church in the past as a vehicle for ensuring the building and its surroundings are adequately protected and maintained. Their legacies will give us great flexibility both in the choice of what we can support and how immediately.
We will do our best to meet their expectations.

Last but by no means least a word about our loyal membership base. This continues to decline for reasons over which we have no control. We need help from you in significantly re-building and extending our membership base. This means publicising the FLPC to friends, neighbours and acquaintances not currently involved and into new areas of Leatherhead and surroundings where we have no representation. We are currently putting effort into revising our publicity material. Even more pressing is the need to be able to call on resources to assist with a larger annual fundraising programme.

If you have any thoughts or ready contacts please share them with any member of the Committee.
Thank you again for your support. We look forward to seeing you at any, or all, of our future fundraising events.
Chris Evans Chairman FLPC

IT WAS  QUIZ TIME AGAIN, with Quizmaster Frank Haslam, on Saturday 5th March 2016. Once again good fun appeared to be had and we raised over £600 towards the work of the Friends

Brandenburg Choral Festival, Saturday 9th April 2016
2.30pm Guided Walk: Somerset Ho., Inns of Court, Temple, Fleet St, Drury La, Covent Gdn
4pm Fauré Requiem, St Paul’s Covent Garden (own travel)
Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church. Tickets £20. This proved to be another excellent outing. Our guide knew her stuff, the weather was kind to us and the concert was just the thing to end our afternoon. The choir singing all around us was magical.

Our 2015 Annual General Meeting took place in the Reeves Room of the Parish Church Hall at 7.30pm on Friday 22nd May 2015 The Rector of Leatherhead was our speaker.

The Friends are grateful to the Brandenburg Choral Festival for enabling us to share in the proceeds from their concert at St Paul's Covent Garden on 22nd March 2015, which a large number of us attended. It was a wonderful occasion in a most interesting setting. Some of us went up earlier in the day in order to visit 2 Temple Place, not far from the concert venue to see the new exhibition Cotton to Gold: Extraordinary Collections of the Industrial North West. The magnificent mansion has been transformed into a casket for the exquisite treasures of an extraordinary group of Lancashire magnates. As the cotton mills boomed, bringing development and deprivation hand in hand, this group of prominent industrialists privately, and sometimes secretively, poured their wealth into some of the finest and most astonishing collections in the country.

We had a special bonus that day as we were able to view Bruce Denny's statue "Conversion of Saint Paul", which had been unveiled by Dame Judi Dench in the Church grounds the previous Friday.

June Robinson

Renewal of FLPC memberships Notices went out in November 2014 inviting renewal of FLPC memberships. We should like to encourage more people interested in maintaining our beautiful Parish Church both for this and future generations to join us and, if possible, play a role, however modest, in organising our fund raising activities.

Even if you don’t feel able to commit to a very modest annual contribution – there is no minimum although £10 is suggested – you may wish to help us with your time. We would welcome hearing from you at any time; contact numbers at the back of each month’s Parish Magazine.

Our popular Bridge Tea in the Parish Hall in November raised over £950. Many thanks to Fran Fleming and the wonderful team who put on this jewel of an event.

Our Open Gardens Day on Sunday 8 June proved a resounding success thanks to the combination of perfect weather, months of hard work by the garden owners to produce such wonderful displays of their art, and the cream teas served to garden visitors in the cool and calm of the Parish Church.

Our thanks to Nicky Osborne and the combined FLPC and Church catering team as well as those who manned the Plant Stall outside. The grand sum of over £1,700 raised from ticket sales, raffle, and refreshments will be split equally between The Friends and our co-sponsors the Leatherhead Residents Association. Plans are already in hand to open a brand new selection of Leatherhead Gardens at the beginning of June 2015.
Chris Evans - from the August 2014 Parish Magazine

Joe Parry Remembered the Friends

Joe Parry died on 13th March this year. His father was a Master Tailor who had premises where the Edmund Tylney pub now stands. When the pub opened Joe told the manager that he had lived on the site and was presented with a complimentary pint.

Joe was a member of 1st Leatherhead Scouts. His first job was as an office boy with the Electricity Generating Company in Bridge Street. At the age of 19, finding life too quiet in Leatherhead, he moved to Battersea. Two years later, on a visit to Canada to see the Toronto Exhibition, he contracted polio and was completely paralysed for over 10 months. Recovering, albeit with the loss of the use of one hand, he retrained as a draughtsman, drawing with his good hand and positioning draughting tools with the other.

He worked for the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario and in 1942 met and married Gladys. They came to England in 1946, living firstly in Copthorne Road and then Kingscroft Road. In later life, widowed, he lived at Skeet House and latterly in a nursing home in Dorking. He worked at H R Nash doing repairs and then at Ronsons. He had a keen interest in motor cycles and, with Gladys in a sidecar, travelled to the Isle of Man and all over Europe to attend events.

He was a keen member of the Local History Society and an avid film club member, when not making beer and wine. His attachment to Leatherhead extended to supporting the Friends of the Parish Church and some may recall him and Brian Hennegan giving most interesting and entertaining talks after an AGM.
Joe asked for his ashes to be placed in the Parry family grave in our churchyard, which the Friends helped to locate. The Friends are grateful for the just over £4,600 left to us by Joe. It is not every funeral ceremony that concludes with the Red Flag!
Frank Haslam - from the August 2014 Parish Magazine

Previous reports of our activities