The Friends of St Michael’s Church Beccles
The Friends, a registered charity, were reformed in 2012 with the aim of raising funds to preserve the fabric and beauty of the building by contributing towards its restoration, maintenance and improvement, thereby preserving the building for future generations.
We were asked by the PCC if we could focus our fund-raising on the South Porch, which was high on the list in the quinquennial report and in desperate need of repair. This porch was built in about 1455 and interestingly in two types of stone but no-one knows why! It was originally highly decorated, the niches coloured in lapis lazuli and gold, and it has been described as an elaborate architectural masterpiece.
Phase 1 of the project involved repairing the porch’s internal masonry and pinnacles, costing £26,000. This phase was completed in 2016. Phase 2 - to restore and conserve the exterior stonework, completed in 2019 - cost a further £87,000. The Friends raised the necessary funds with the support of local charities, particularly the Beccles Townlands Trust and the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, local businesses and members of the community.
The Friends hold fund-raising events throughout the year from lunchtime music concerts to cake stalls and producing Christmas cards and greeting cards. The Friends serve coffee every Friday morning - in church during the summer or in the Undercroft in colder weather - with freshly brewed coffee, homemade cakes and scones. A warm welcome is extended to all and it has proved to be a popular meeting place.
Lunchtime concerts at St Michael’s Church, Beccles
Friday 14 July marks the start of the annual lunchtime concert series in St Michael’s Church, Beccles. The concerts, in support of the charitable fundraising activities of the Friends of St Michael’s, will be held every Friday (12.30-1.15pm) until the last concert on Friday 11 August. There is no charge for admission. Light lunches will be available from 12 noon.
The varied concert programme is:
14 July Rumpus Ukulele
21 July Lowestoft Longshoremen
28 July Tootie Flooties (recorder consort)
4 August Charlotte Moore (songs from the shows & other songs)
11 August Matt Smith (baritone) & Karen Smith (piano).
When announcing the concert series, Richard Card, Chairman of the Friends of St Michael’s, said: ‘We are delighted that the exceptional performers in our programme have agreed to appear at this year’s concert series. Some of them have performed in our previous series to rapturous applause, and all our performers have a well-deserved high reputation in the area. I know that the audiences will be in for a musical treat.’
The Friends of St Michael’s are a charity whose purpose is to preserve the fabric and beauty of St Michael’s Church by raising funds to contribute to its restoration, maintenance and improvement. Any donations at the concert will go to the charity.