Final push to raise remaining funds for historic Beccles church porch appeal

The Friends of St Michael's Church are raising funds to conserve the stonework on the south porch at

The Friends of St Michael's Church are raising funds to conserve the stonework on the south porch at St Michael's Church. Pictured is members of the group with Rev Rich Henderson. Picture: Rod Parker. - Credit: Archant

The group behind a project to restore and repair the porch of a historic Beccles church has organised a series of fundraisers in a final push to reach their target.

The south porch of St Michael's Church, Beccles.
Picture: Nick Butcher.

The south porch of St Michael's Church, Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The Friends of St Michael's Church first launched their appeal in September 2014, with the first phase of work to the south porch completed last summer.

This involved structural repairs to the porch, staircase and pinnacles, with £26,000 raised by the Friends towards the work. Further funds came from a government grant for roof repairs awarded to St Michael's and from the parish.

The south porch of St Michael's Church, Beccles.
Picture: Nick Butcher.

The south porch of St Michael's Church, Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The group is now focussing on completing phase two - the conservation of the stonework which has been badly weathered. The work will cost £87,000 and so far £61,500 has been raised, including grants and donations.

In a final push to secure the remaining £25,500, the Friends have once again organised a series of lunchtime concerts.

The south porch of St Michael's Church, Beccles.
Picture: Nick Butcher.

The south porch of St Michael's Church, Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher


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The first will take place next Friday, July 14, with an organ recital by Jonathan Palman.

Jan Kendrick, chairman of the Friends group, said: 'People who are shopping in the town can come here, by some sandwiches and a coffee very cheaply and they can sit and enjoy the music while eating their lunch.'

The first lunchtime concert will be an organ recital with Jonathan Palman. Picture: Jonathan Palman.

The first lunchtime concert will be an organ recital with Jonathan Palman. Picture: Jonathan Palman. - Credit: Archant

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St Michael's Church has been a focal point of Beccles for the past 600 years, and the Friends are keen to see it used by the whole community.

The Rev Rich Henderson, priest in charge of the parish of Beccles, said: 'It is a lovely building and a real focal point for the town. We want the building to be at its best so we can make more use of it.

'We have had a lot of generous donations from people who love the church, and I think it is remarkable how much has been raised so quickly.

'I would like to thank the friends for working so hard, and not only fundraising but also for generating community and getting people into the church who would not normally use it.'

The Friends run a coffee morning at the church every Friday from 10am to noon, with proceeds from that also going to the appeal.

Musical Bites

The first of the Musical Bites lunchtime concerts will take place at St Michael's Church on Friday, July 14, with an organ recital from Jonathan Palman.

They will continue with singer Matthew Smith on July 21 and St Michael's Church Choir on July 28.

On August 4, Jonathan will return from another performance, followed by an organ recital from David Price on August 11 and a talk on St Michael's Church by Roy Tricker on August 18.

The concerts will run from 12.30pm to 1.15pm and admission is free.

The Friends will be selling sandwiches, homemade cakes and drinks, or visitors can take along their own lunch.

There will be a retiring collection for the Friends of St Michaels.

Later on this year, a lunch will be held in the undercroft with speaker Robert Tilney on September 27.

Tickets, which cost £10 including a two-course meal, can be booked by calling Jan Kendrick on 01502 717112.

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