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.
The Friends group organised a “Let’s go Wild in the Churchyard” day in May 2016. Just over 100 people attended even though it was very cold and windy! Our thanks go to them and to all the members of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the Bure Valley Conservation Group, and the Blofield & District Conservation Group, who gave their time and expertise on the day, and to the church team who provided hot drinks and lovely food for everyone.
The next Friends event was a tour of the three churches in the Blofield benefice, held on 13th August. Over 50 people attended to hear ‘Lyn Stilgoe and Dick Barham (Round Tower Churches Society and Church Tours) together with the local Rural Dean, Revd Canon Nick Garrard, discuss the architecture and interesting features of St Andrew’s Church at N Burlingham, All Saints at Hemblington and St Andrew and St Peter’s at Blofield. For once the weather was kind, and as anticipated, the cream tea exceptional! Once again our thanks to all involved in this event, which proved very popular.
Previously some events organised by the “proto Friends group” included:
- In June 2015 there was an illustrated talk by David Bryant, a local naturalist & photographer, showing his photographs of birds, animals, flowers and butterflies, all taken within a few miles of the church
- In September 2015 there was a very successful study day looking at the fabric of the church, its history, the iconography of the font and the unique wall painting
- Over the weekend of 30th/31st January 2016 we held the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch in the churchyard. Over 40 people saw 21 different species of bird during the weekend, with the prettiest and most numerous being a group of 8 long tailed tits – pure delight!
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: (01603) 715804
15 Allens Close, Blofield Heath, NORWICH NR13 4QR
Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/FriendsofHemblingtonChurch