The Friends group was launched in April 2016 when an evening meeting was held at the church and the aims of such a group were discussed and agreed as:
- to raise funds in order to help conserve, maintain, and improve the fabric, furnishings and fittings of All Saints Church, Hemblington, and its grounds, so that it is in good order for future generations to enjoy;
- to raise funds in order to organise events that foster public interest and a greater understanding of the history of this ancient and special listed building;
- to support the events and activities of the church within the local community;
- to promote an appreciation of the beauty and tranquillity of the church and its environs.
Since then the group has steadily increased in size with annual and life members and some corporate sponsorship, though we will always welcome new Friends at any time. Please see the “Becoming a Friend” section below.
A committee has been formed, with a chair, treasurer, secretary, and three committee members, including one who is the representative of the Parochial Church Council. The committee will meet three times a year and report to the group at an annual general meeting, which is likely to be held in the spring, and to which all Friends and others interested in the group will be invited. We will also be planning events that are likely to be of interest to the local community, so if there is anything you think would be appreciated locally, do please let us know. Up to now such events have concentrated on the architectural features of the church, and on the natural history of the area, including managing the churchyard for the benefit of wild flowers and wildlife. However we are very open to suggestions for other sorts of activities – so do get in touch.
To coincide with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of January, the Friends holds a Big Churchyard Birdwatch each year. We encourage local families to come along and identify the birds visiting the churchyard, and the records are added to the RSPB website. As it is of course always cold at end January, warming refreshments are available inside, and help with ID available outside, so it is a good opportunity to enjoy the church inside and out, as well as meet people and make a little money for the Friends Fund.
The committee usually arranges a meeting mid summer, perhaps a tour of local sites of interest. These are well advertised and all are welcome to attend. Similarly the AGM usually has a noted speaker to encourage visitors to attend the meeting, which over the years has included radio presenter David Clayton, Norwich Museum’s Service senior curator Dr Tim Pestell, and in 2019 UEA Prof. Tom Williamson. The AGM itself is brief and to the point, outlining income and any expenditure during the previous year, and plans for the future. All are very welcome to attend this meeting, and any expressions of interest in supporting the group will be much appreciated.
A very different event organised by two Friends of the church over the last three years has been musical – in the first year an evening of blues, rock and pop played by local musicians, and for the last two years a music-related quiz. This has proved very popular and attracted people interested in the live guitar intros and the other themed rounds. A very innovative approach and much appreciated by all.
The income from all such events is channelled into The Friends Fund, purely to help towards any repairs needed. In 2019 50% of the costs of repairs identified by the church architect were funded by The Friends, so the group is proving its worth and will strive to continue to meet its aims.
We are also developing talks about the church that could be given to groups interested in its history. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss this aspect of The Friends work.
July 2020: The Blofield & District Conservation Group BADCOG cut the flora on the south side of the church, which was raked some days later by a group of The Friends of All Saints. This allowed for the wild flower seed heads to drop their seeds and hopefully increase the numbers of plants next year. The north side will be cut and raked by members of the Bure Valley Conservation Group in early August.
Becoming a Friend
To become a Friend of All Saints Church, subscriptions are £10 per annum for an individual, £20 per annum for a household (3 or more) or £100 lifetime membership.
Please send name, address, telephone number and e mail address to the secretary – contact details below. We do hope you will wish to join us and help support this beautiful Medieval gem. If you would like further information, please get in touch.
Susan Rowe, Secretary. E-mail: email@example.com Telephone: (01603) 715804
15 Allens Close, Blofield Heath, NORWICH NR13 4QR
Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/FriendsofHemblingtonChurch
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