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St Mary's Summer Update

Damage to the Northeast corner of the tower.
Dear Friends and Supporters,

It is that time of year again, the long school holidays, when little and not so little hands get up to mischief!

Last Thursday, following Sue's reports of damage to the church, Delia, Tony and Cliff and Jean visited St. Mary's and were dismayed to see that the lovely old tower has again been attacked. The north/west corner of the tower had several large stones dislodged, leaving it vulnerable to collapse if more stones become loose or are pulled out. We have asked the Council to make urgent repairs, and if possible to use stronger mortar to make it harder for vandals to repeat the attack.

We noted also that the low wall to the south of the Chancel has again been vandalised and that the stones prised from the walls are being used in the body of the church as 'fire-grates', and as missiles to damage grave stones in the church yard.

The chancel arch has new graffiti, and existing graffiti on other walls have not yet been cleaned.

The church grounds, beautiful in the sunlight.
However, there were some reasons to be cheerful, despite the above. The site looked attractive, bathed in summer sunlight, with relatively little litter, mostly lager cans and plastic bottles which we collected and removed.

The large red granite grave monument still has its top on, and paths and bushes have been cleared and clipped.

We were delighted to see a party of parents, grandparents and children visiting the church and hill fort, enjoying the beauty and tranquillity of the area and learning about the history of the site.

We have asked through local churches and other organisations that people visit the site as often as they can in the summer months, which will make the place appear less isolated and therefore less of an attraction to vandals. Local police officers have been asked to patrol at night when we believe the worst of the vandalism takes place.

By chance, we have obtained a list of names of people buried in the graveyard, with a map indicating where their graves are. We will put these details on the webpage in due course.

We hope as many of you as possible will visit the church and hill fort over the summer months and if you note any damage, please report it to the Council Bereavement Department, telephone: 02920 623694.

The next 'Friends' event will be the annual inspection March 2011 and following that we plan to hold a Celebration of Father Jones's life in June, hoping that by then his family will have scattered his ashes near his beloved old church, in accordance with his last wishes.

Please keep checking the website for news of Friends and Junior Friends' activities.

Delia and Rosemary