Withermarsh Green was the only Catholic church in the awards list and received £3,000 to restore its tabernacle and gradine (the ledge on the altar). More Catholic churches are encouraged to apply for grants in the next funding round.
“I am delighted that St Our Lady and St Edmund’s was awarded this grant,” said Fr Henry Whisenant from Withermarsh Green, “and grateful to the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust for their decision. It will enable us to restore the tabernacle and gradine and thus make a more fitting and honourable home for Our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.”
Last year the Trustees of the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust decided to allocate £70,000 to a Jubilee Fund for projects the Trust saw as a fitting tribute to the Queen’s reign.
The Trustees deliberately ruled out applications relating to structural work which is the bread and butter of their normal grant-giving and instead to ask for works they would not normally fund, like the restoration of clocks, monuments, paintings, textiles, books, organs, stained glass and churchyard works.
To spread the money, grants would only be awarded to projects that would not exceed £5,000, with the requested grant expected to cover the bulk if not the entire costs of the project.
In the event, the Trust received 55 applications adding up to over £180,000. Owing to the enormous generosity of two supporters of the Trust who had recently left very substantial legacies to the SHCT, the Trustees felt able to bridge most, if not all, of the gap and to award £152,000 to 51 churches right across Suffolk.
Chairman of the SHCT Geoffrey Probert commented: “Our Charity is here to help in the upkeep of our glorious inheritance of Suffolk churches and chapels, so it gives us huge pleasure that so many churches came forward with imaginative ways to mark the Jubilee. Her Late Majesty was Patron of the National Churches Trust and I’m sure she would have been thrilled to see so many projects being realised in her name in Suffolk.”
The money came partly from the Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride and Pedal and Drive events held in September. Next year’s Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride and Pedal and Drive is on Saturday September 9 and will be part of a Suffolk Churches Fortnight as the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust celebrate their 50thanniversary.
Details about the anniversary, applying for grants, and the fundraising events are on the Trust website www.shct.org.uk
Pictured above is the tabernacle at Withermarsh Green.