Broadland fundraiser is celebrated

A communion service was held on in a Broadland village church to celebrate a prominent fundraiser’s life.

Pat Wiles, from Stratton Strawless, is the figurehead of appeal which has seen �97,876 raised to fund the upkeep of St Margaret’s Church. She has opened up her childhood home, Brook House, over the past 25 years to raise money.

In 1986 Mrs Wiles and her sister Wenda first hosted an open day in their house and garden – hosting a lunch and tea for �2.50. Then stalls were set up by their friends and neighbours on the open days, serving cakes and jams and holding a raffle. The takings for the first year came to �323, and doubled each year.

All money raised is used to maintain and renovate parts of St Margaret’s Church, which is why Mrs Wiles’ 90th birthday was aptly celebrated within the church walls.

Toz Waddingham, a member of the community who held the party, said: “The church was packed with her many friends, and afterwards there was a lunch to which all the people who have helped at the Bluebell Days over the past quarter-century were invited, and they nearly all came.

“The sun shone and we had a lovely time meeting up again, reminiscing and eating lots of varied and delicious food, as most people brought something.”

The money has funded the Marsh Monuments restoration, the redecoration of the interior of the church and a tower roof renovation.