The Chair’s May Newsletter

Events for 2021

Thank you

The first thing I must do is to thank you all for your patience and loyalty despite our inactivity on the social front.  I do hope that it is not premature to say that we are now coming through the pandemic.  Some of you may have been ill and some may have lost friends and relatives – for which, do, please, accept my sympathies.

Once again, I am writing to you with optimism about what we might do together this year: I shall confirm these intentions as soon as possible with my usual circulation by post.

Events for this year

We are planning to go ahead later this summer with as many as possible of the events which we had to cancel last year.  Here are some dates to hold in your diaries:

  • Wolfson Lecture: Prof. Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch on Thomas Cromwell – late afternoon followed by an early evening drinks reception overlooking the Cherwell on Sunday, July 4th.
  • Annual Meeting of the Trust: Broughton Castle – mid-afternoon followed by a reception on Monday, July 19th.
  • Ride and Stride: Saturday, September 11th (most certainly NOT cancelled last year – see below!)
  • Blenheim Lecture: Dr Simon Bradley to talk on his revision of Pevsner’s Guide to the County following our usual buffet supper in the Palace Orangery on Wednesday, October 13th

David Warr very much hopes to arrange a couple of expeditions visiting churches, but he asks us to wait for further news whilst he consults our potential hosts on their social distancing expectations.  We are also hoping to hold our accustomed evening out in August.

In addition, we have a group which is planning to produce some talks and discussions both to interest members and to provide guidance for those looking after church buildings.  The latest video online from our Trustee, Prof. Malcolm Airs, will be of interest. It is A History of Building Materials in Dorchester-on-Thames.

A new Patron and a new Membership Secretary

You will be aware that Bishop Colin retired last year: I am glad to say that he has remained in the county and will continue to stay in touch with us.  His successor as Bishop of Dorchester, the Right Revd. Gavin Collins, has now been consecrated.  He is strongly supportive of the Trust and has already made enquiry about a full day’s cycling for Ride and Stride.  He has gladly agreed to become a Patron.

One of the most widely known and loved members of our Council, Holly Kilpatrick, has stepped down after long service as our Membership Secretary.  I am sure that you’ll want to join me in thanking her for her dedication and hard work and, most importantly, for the warm welcome she gave to all of you taking part in our events – she took great care to get to know as many of you as possible and her appreciation for all you do to support our work was always obvious.  I am very pleased that Phoebe Hart, who is based in Bloxham, is now taking over where Holly left off.
(It will shortly be possible to contact her using the [email protected] email address.  Meanwhile, there may have been a hiatus in the email handover, so, if anyone is missing a response to an email, do accept my apologies, and contact me directly so that I can help.)

Our grants to churches

Our most important business has gone on as usual.  We allocated more than ever, almost £300,000, in the 2020-2021 year, and over one third of this was raised in a particularly successful Ride and Stride last September – well done all those who took part or made donations.

Our churches have mostly been able to go ahead with their work, though some grants made in recent years were not taken up during their three-year period of currency, which is hardly surprising given the circumstances.  We can expect a deal of catch-up work in the future, so your support is as important and valued as ever: very many thanks to you all for your continuing interest.

Christopher Walton – RIP

Finally, I have just heard some sad news – Christopher, a long-time supporter of the Trust died yesterday at the age of 90.  He was twice our Chairman, and he also served the Trust as President.  He was awarded the MBE for this work.  We are grateful for all he did and shall remember him with fondness and respect.

With my best wishes