Heritage Open Days 2005
According to The Civic Trust, the weekend of this year’s Heritage Open Days was “one of the wettest weekends of the year, the second most popular wedding date and the weekend England was in thrall to the Ashes”. Despite all this, we had about 170 people in total visit St Peter’s Church, which has participated in the event for the first time, and around 265 people in total visited St Mary’s.
The majority of visitors came to St Peter’s on Saturday 10th September, when the “Make poverty history” campaign was organised alongside our event, and special thanks goes to Ken Richards who was dealing brilliantly (and most of all patiently and with a great sense of humour) with the streams of visitors, speakers and campaigners, and to Pat Churchman who made it possible for the Fair Trade Shop to be open on that day.
However, the highlights of the St Peter’s events were undoubtedly the Lunchtime Organ Music on Thursday and Tower Open Day on Friday. The first was organised by Philip Collin, who was performing with Tristan Moore and Mike Leuty. Admittedly not as many people visited St Peter’s on that day, but it was the middle of the week and those who were there enjoyed it tremendously. Peter Hoare showed me where to find interesting booklets on the history of the church and Liz Kent and Hilary Evans were on hand to show visitors around.
On Friday Mike Popplestone and Keith Charter helped people to climb the tower and showed them the bells and the view, whilst Saxon Barrie took care of the visitors who preferred to stay in the church and admire the most interesting display of “St Peter’s Parish in 1880 and today” kindly lent to us by David Marshall.
As always, the St Peter’s Tea Room provided excellent opportunity for visitors to refresh with a cup of tea and to choose a nice piece of cake from their popular assortment.
Michael Lakin and Margaret Wiedemann were taking care of about 140 students who visited St Mary’s on Thursday and Friday, who came equipped with their sketch books, pencils and digital cameras to try and capture the beauty of St Mary’s for their studies. Taking visitors on guided tour around St Mary’s were Geoffrey Walker and John Whittle on Saturday and Tony and Beth Mitchell on Sunday. A very interesting booklet written by Geoffrey was available for the visitors and Biddy Walker and Joan Rolfe provided them with refreshments.
We could wish for more people to come to the churches and see what we have to offer. On the other hand, we did our best and I think those who decided to come despite the rain, the weddings and, most of all, those who could detach themselves from the TV and radio sets and miss the cricket, had a marvellous time and will come again next year, if not before.
I wish to thank all the volunteers for their time, advice they gave me, dedication and kindness in helping me organise Heritage Open Days 2005- without you all, it would be impossible!
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