We did hesitate to put Summer in the heading for this letter, as that season has not yet arrived, and so many people have had to endure real hardship as a result of the atrocious weather.
We have been busy at Church House however, with 135 bookings or Open Days up to the end of July. We are hoping to widen our range of clients, but some weeks have had no spare days, and June was particularly busy with Open Gardens, an attractive and successful Art Exhibition and the Church Ale. We find that many users of the building give us repeat business as they appreciate both the ambience and the facilities on offer. The Heritage Lottery managers have encouraged several potential grant seekers to visit Church House, and people from towns and villages in the West Country have come for discussions and assistance. It is obvious that we were so fortunate to achieve a grant of around 80% from HLF as currently the level is much lower and thus the fundraiser’s task is made more difficult.
The committee decided recently that we should put £7000 on deposit with CCLA Investment Management Ltd as part of our planned reserves for future maintenance. The group is a partnership between the Charity Commission, Local Authorities and the Church of England. We are mindful of our Trust obligations to support local charitable needs, and will be reviewing this in the coming months.
There have been several changes to our committee, with Eric Humphreys and Clifford White retiring and Lorinda Legge and Jane White joining.
We will miss Eric’s skills and commitment and Clifford’s contribution as Parish Council representative on the committee. Lorinda joins as a Trustee on her appointment as Churchwarden and Jane will represent the Parish Council. We have welcomed Deborah Clark and Mark Freeman who have taken on the steward’s rota and publicity management respectively. We thus now have a committee of 10 people, all of whom have various roles in the management and promotion of the building.
Due to various pressures, the committee have decided that we should open on Sundays only in May, June and October, and on Wednesdays and Sundays during July, August and September. This revised programme will be incorporated into our new publicity leaflet that should be produced for next season. We are hoping to hold more musical events, and are in touch with Villages UK about a recital in March 2008.
If you have read this far, now is the time for diaries.
December 14th for a Friends and Stewards Christmas get together. We want to say thank you to everyone involved in this venture. It will probably be at 6pm onwards and include mulled wine, but more details later.
Coming Events. Village Voices will be giving a concert on Thursday September 6th, and The Cygnet Theatre Company are coming on Sunday,October 28th to give a rehearsed reading of Mark Carey’s play “ The Last Country House.” This is the story of the building of Castle Drogo, and has been performed and broadcast a number of times. We are very fortunate to have Mark himself playing the lead role. This will be a ticket only event and we suggest early booking. The Company will be performing the
Play in Exeter the evening before, but Church House is more convenient!
We hope to hold an evening Feast on Friday November 30th to celebrate St Andrew’s Day. This will also be a ticket only event for the supper and numbers will be limited to 45. The meal will be based on medieval recipes with some flexibility in the pudding section. There will be dancing later.
If you have any comments or suggestions, please get in touch with a member of the committee.
Mike Bailey, Nora Bertram, John Christian, Teresa Christian, Deborah Clark, Andy Frangleton, Mark Freeman, Lorinda Legge, Jane White or David Youle.
Finally we wish to thank you for your continuing support and for the confidence you showed in offering your backing to our venture in 2002 when we were embarking on the restoration of Church House. We are most grateful to the many people who have been to visit us or who have used this lovely building and enabled the committee view the future with some confidence!