Our stonework project

The last newsletter explained why we are shrouded in scaffolding and what is going on behind the plastic screens and encouraged all who love our church - its mission and activity as well as the building – to give a contribution to making the stonework façade safe and restoring it to a clean and properly decorative state. We had no choice but to get on with the work rapidly as weather, time and pollution had wreaked their worst and left us at risk of pieces of stone tumbling to the ground. We have been fortunate in finding contractors who know their specialisation well and seem careful and efficient.

We didn’t know how bad the situation was until the work started and every inch of the stonework could be tested and the depth of London dirt and grime measured (you would be horrified to know!). Our surveyor and the contractors look at every stage of work and are helping us find the right solution to each challenge as cost-effectively as possible.

One shock was that one of our two spires had a very long split in it, the result of decay over the years. For safety the top of it has had to be taken down and a replacement section is being carved of 
Bath stone to match the rest of it and will be hoisted into place soon.

We will do as much as we can in this phase of work, but unless we have lots more help from donors, we will not have enough money to do it all, so once the scaffolding is down you are likely, sadly, to see a tidemark and grimy, unrestored stone at ground floor level – we will gird our loins to commission and pay for that to be done, little by little (it won’t need fixed scaffolding), perhaps starting next year. Even putting some of the work off in this way, we are drawing heavily on our savings as a church and so I want to urge you to help, please.

We have had some wonderful donations, large and small, some from people who love the church or our music activities but aren’t church members, as well as from our regular congregation. Some of the money has come from fundraising such as proceeds from concerts. The Brazilian congregation who worship at the church on Saturdays gave us a generous £500. We have had a refund of some of our VAT on the project from a special government programme for this sort of work on listed buildings (we are classed as Grade II). Our biggest donation so far is £10,000 and our smallest £10. We hope to raise at least £50,000 and are halfway there.

No need to hang back! Support us if you can (and remember if you are a UK taxpayer Mr Zahawi is obliged to add 25% to what you give us). Tell your friends and neighbours. Get them to sponsor you for 12 uninterrupted hours of hymn-singing or counting parakeets on Hampstead Heath. Do find some way of helping! The website has details of how to make donations, or contact me for any information: gaynor@eandghumphreys.plus.com.

Gaynor Humphreys 
(backed up by St Stephen and St Cecilia)

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