Church’s Friends Committee raises £500,000 in 24 years

In 1997, St Peter’s Church in Sibton was given three choices, to remove the roof and close the church, put the building on the market for £1 or raise funds for its repair.

Since then, the church’s Friends Committee has raised a massive £500,000 - using the funds to repair the north aisle roof, re-lead the church’s stained-glass windows, replace the flooring, add a modern heating system and build kitchen and toilet facilities.

The Revd Tim Rogers said: “The Friends Committee has such a positive ‘can do’ attitude. This is a beautiful church and over 24 years they and others have been doing an amazing job – they are passionate, consistent and most importantly they manage to make fundraising fun."

The committee has raised money through a variety of ways, including book and eBay sales, art exhibitions and concerts as well as applying for grant funding. They currently raise around £11,000 annually.

It is now believed the beautiful but heavy medieval roof of St Peter’s has become unstable and is damaging the walls, so will need major repair and stabilisation spurring a new round of fundraising from the Friends Committee. Both the committee and PCC have plans to raise funds by working with the owners of nearby Sibton Abbey, building heritage links and holding exhibitions, history days and tours of the abbey.

They are also asking the local community how they would like the church used in the future to include different kinds of events, and are exploring options for use for retreats and quiet days.

Churchwarden Jan Belton, a Friends Committee member, said: “Over the years there have been peaks and troughs, highs and lows but we have always managed to keep ourselves going and I hope this will continue. We are also looking for younger volunteers to join the Friends Committee – a group of enthusiastic people so we can hand it over to safe, younger hands.”

Tim added: “The Friends Committee have built up considerable expertise in running a series of community events as well as filling in grant applications. I really believe that with their efforts and energy, with their hope and confidence, that this next stage of the project will happen.”

Edmund Harris, Diocean Advisory Committee Secretary, said: “The church remains on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register because of the roof so it’s important the work to this historically significant building is carried out. The Friends Group have worked incredibly hard to save the church and I’m sure their next endeavours will continue to make a huge difference”.

For more on the Friends Committee at Sibton Church, see and their website

Page last updated: Wednesday 22nd May 2024 3:03 PM
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