52 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).
The fund was open to all churches, chapels and meeting houses. 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."
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."
SHCT continue to award grants towards church building projects, four times a year. Details are on the Trust website here: www.shct.org.uk