Event to boost Beccles church porch fund

Friends of St Michael’s church, Beccles are holding a fundraising evening for the South Porch Appeal

Friends of St Michael’s church, Beccles are holding a fundraising evening for the South Porch Appeal.Left to right John Campbell, David Cannell and Norman Simister. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Preparations are taking place for a fundraising event which organisers hope will raise hundreds of pounds towards urgent repairs to a 600-year-old church in Beccles.

The Friends of St Michael’s formed two years ago with the aim of raising at least £75,000 to pay for work on the south porch, and already £30,000 has been raised.

Last month the church, which was built in 1455, was awarded a grant of £26,800 to pay for essential work on the roof as part of £2.8m in government funding awarded to churches in the East of England.

Jan Kendrick, chairman of the Friend’s of St Michael’s, said: “The church is a wonderful medieval example and there are few of them around.

“It has been weathered considerably over the years and there have been several attempts in the past to restore it and now it has come to the stage where it needs looking at.

“It’s in the centre of this lovely old town and has the most wonderful view but there is nothing sheltering it so it gets the full blast coming across the marshes and Waveney Valley.”

The latest fundraising event on May 21 will see an East Anglian Evening in Story and Dialect presented by John and Gill Campbell.

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The event will feature stories and nostalgia, history and humour and a smattering of dialect, featuring works by Adrian Bell and many other Suffolk writers.

Organisers said it will include something for everyone - unusual happenings at Dunwich, accounts of Sutton Hoo as well as Beccles in 1805 and Bungay in the 1920s along with a few surprises.

John Campbell said: “It will focus on the East Anglian history and East Anglian humour, characters and people.

“There will also be readings in the dialect which you don’t often hear now.”

The Friends host a number of other fundraising events throughout the year including a coffee morning in the church every Friday and have an occasional stall on the market.

Mrs Kendrick added: “The church is part of our heritage and Beccles’ heritage.

“Hundreds of thousands of people have been married here and babies christened here over the years and people’s funerals have taken place here so all those people and their families have a connection with us.”

Tickets for the East Anglian Evening, which begins at 7.30pm, are priced at £5 and available from Beccles Bookshop in Exchange Square, and entry is also available at the door.

Do you have a story for us? Emails lynn.crombie@archant.co.uk or call 01502 712060.