Church Friends praised for foresight - but warned of major challenges ahead

Founder members of the Friends of St Edmund’s Church in Sedgefield have been praised for their foresight back in 1999 in launching a group to help safeguard the future of the town’s iconic church.

At the 20th anniversary dinner and dance, retiring Friends’ chairman Ron Eyley said that more than £160,000 had been raised for conservation work since the group was formed.

But after thanking both Friends and supporters for their generosity down the years, he warned that many challenges lay ahead if St Edmund’s were to be preserved in reasonable condition for the generations still to come.

“In the current economic climate it is heart-warming to know that so many people still support and join the Friends after so many years - especially when you think of all the other deserving groups bidding for funds these days,” commented Mr Eyley, who added: “We hope they will continue to support us for the next twenty years.”

Eight founder members attended the dinner in the Parish Hall and heard the Revd. Martin King, former Rector of Sedgefield and a founder member of the Friends, toast the Friends and reminisce about the early days. 

The pioneers present included (l-r) Christine Mutch, Brian Mutch, Alison  Hodgson, Trevor Terry, Alison King, David Brown and the Revd. Martin King. Missing from the picture is Joyce Jordan.

Mr Eyley replied to the toast and thanked current officials (secretary and social programme co-ordinator Alison Hodgson, treasurers Nigel and Lynda Clegg, membership secretary Brian Mutch, website manager Christine Mutch, design consultant Kevan Stevens and committee members Jimmy Seymour and Anne Eyley) for their hard work.

There was praise, too, from secretary Alison for Coxhoe-based caterers Lowthers of Durham and The Gastric Band whose members donated their live music entertainment during the evening. 

A popular after-dinner event was a competition to roll a pound coin closest to a bottle of whisky prize.  Several ladies (pictured) tried their luck but the eventual winner was local famer Robert Elders.

Although the event was not designed primarily to generate income, it did raise £855 which will be used to continue conservation work on the fabric of the church.



Article courtesy of Ron Eyley


Page added 22nd November 2019