An­cient mon­u­ment stands as an ex­am­ple of Friends’ work

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

AN­CIENT mon­u­ment St Mary’s Church at East­well fea­tures in a new book pub­lished this month.

Sav­ing Churches cel­e­brates the work and 50th an­niver­sary of na­tional char­ity The Friends of Friend­less Churches.

Es­tab­lished in the late 1950s by jour­nal­ist and author Ivor Bulmer Thomas, the char­ity saves an­cient churches from degra­da­tion and de­mo­li­tion.

St Mary’s, which dates back to the 15th cen­tury, has been cared for by the Friends since 1980.

It is now a sched­uled an­cient mon­u­ment, with only its tower and one wall re­main­ing, and is one of 38 Grade I or Grade II listed places of wor­ship in Eng­land and Wales, that the group cares for.

With some in ru­ins and oth­ers in­tact, the churches are pre­served by the Friends, who un­der­take re­pairs where nec­es­sary and make them ac­ces­si­ble places for vis­i­tors and the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Many of the churches they sup­port are also cared for by small groups of lo­cal Friends, who work as vol­un­teers.

Care for St Mary’s has in­cluded in­stalling an iron screen to pre­vent van­dals from get­ting into the church.

Pho­to­graphs

The book in­cludes 100 colour pho­to­graphs and ac­counts of each church saved, and a short his­tory of the Friends of Friend­less Churches.

Matthew Saun­ders, di­rec­tor of the Friends and author of Sav­ing Churches, says: “The pub­li­ca­tion of this gor­geously il­lus­trated book marks the char­ity’s sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ments over the 50 years of its ex­is­tence.”

For more de­tails log on to www.friend­sof­friend­less­churc hes.org.uk

St Mary’s Church, East­well

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