Tea and cake helping to conserve historic churches

Cups of tea and homemade cakes are set to help towards the repair of perishing pews and broken church bells.

Churches in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) will be throwing themed Midsummer Tea Parties this weekend (June 22 – 23), with all proceeds helping to save churches at risk.


Around 30 events are being hosted up and down the country; including a Pimms and strawberries afternoon at St James’, Cooling and a flower show at St Thomas a Becket in Capel, Tonbridge.

Although these churches are no longer in regular use, they are still very much loved within their communities and have dedicated Friends groups working hard to keep them in good condition.

In recent years grants from the CCT have been cut so it is now even more important for churches to raise their own funds.


The Friends of Capel Church, St Thomas a Becket, raised £10,000 last year to repair the church bell which was deemed unsafe, and they also rebuilt drains along the north of the building.

Lynne Assirati, secretary of the group said: “Money from events like the flower show helps us ever so much.

“Recently the porch roof fell in and the church could do with being redecorated in places, so money from fundraising really helps towards getting these things repaired.

“Donations are very important to us and it is thanks to donations and the Friends of Capel Church, that it is able to remain open.”

The church is well known for its medieval wall paintings covering the nave, some of which are beginning to flake – something which can be repaired with the help of donations.



At St James’ in Cooling, the Friends group raised £11,000 last year for church improvements.

Group chairman Alison Bucknall said: “At present we are not undertaking a specific project, but last year we raised £11,000 by taking part in an abseil down Burham Church Tower and the money went towards providing a welcome desk and interpretation boards for St James.

“The Friends also funded the renovation of the old oak gates at the entrance to the churchyard.

“It is therefore necessary for us to try to raise funds to help with the maintenance and upkeep of the church, it is very important that we raise as much money as we can.”



For more information about the CCT and other tea party events this weekend visit http://www.visitchurches.org.uk/

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