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Friends AGM 11 September 2014

The AGM was held in the Saints Parish Centre, with 16 members present and 10 apologies for absence.

Fr Patrick opened the meeting with prayers.

The first item was the election of a new Chairman. Nigel Swann, as the only candidate, was re-elected for a further year, to everyone’s delight (and considerable relief).

The minutes of the last AGM were approved without amendment. Under Matters Arising, progress was queried on the provision of a new set of Service books. Fr Patrick reported that it was hoped to introduce a new, professionally produced, Service book on Advent Sunday. It was possible the Friends would be invited to contribute to the cost of this.

The annual accounts were presented by the Treasurer, who noted that the Friends had contributed over £3,000 to renewal and refurbishment works in the church in 2013, and in 2014, had donated a further £3,000+ to pay for Choir hymn books and work to the Sacristy kitchen. Friends funds were continuing to diminish at an alarming rate, and any future large projects would have to be funded by Appeal.

The Chairman’s report spoke of the several Events arranged during the year, and of the one cancellation-the visit to Leeds Minster. This followed a visit by Nigel to Leeds, where he found little encouragement in the Minster to commend it as an interesting venue. Nigel spoke of good work by the Committee, and also of his appreciation of the work of other members in helping to print tickets and posters, organize events, maintain the website and, most importantly, by continuing to support the Friends.

The Committee elections returned the existing committee members (unopposed) to post for a further year.

The Chairman closed the meeting after reminding everyone of the next Friends event, a coffee morning at 34 Gladstone Rd on Saturday 6 December at 10am

After a short break for refreshments, Nigel Swann then gave an illustrated talk on

The Lost Cathedrals of England

Who knew that there were so many nearlies, want-to-be’s, used-to-be’s and should have been’s? By Nigel’s estimate, there could have been double the number of cathedrals now in existence (43). Nigel’s talk was beautifully illustrated with pictures and drawings, illustrating not just what remained of these ex-cathedrals, but how they looked, or might have looked had they ever been built.

The only surprise was that, apparently, the Crooked Spire was never a candidate for elevation to cathedral status. What have they missed!

It was a fascinating talk, but so much information was too much to take in in one evening. The discussion that followed centred largely on trying to persuade Nigel to commit to producing a written version. We may even get to serialise it on the website?

The audience response at the end was indicative of a thoroughly enjoyable, and extremely interesting, presentation.

We heard several anecdotes relating to visitors to the Spire. The small boy looking up at the maze of timber inside the spire and commenting “What a mess!”; the innocent enquiry “which did they build first, the tower or the spire?” and the Japanese tourist who’s photos of the spire so alarmed his camera manufacturer that they asked him to return the faulty camera so that they could replace it.

Time passed all too quickly, but the audience were most enthusiastic when showing their appreciation at the end-most of us learned something new about the church, and we were left wanting more.

The programme concluded with a quite lavish buffet, provided by Gwen Hallam and Irene Moore, and several people took note of the BYOB instruction on the tickets to bring a very convivial end to the evening.

John Duncan


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