New patron to support Beccles church porch appeal

Martin Bell has been installed as a new patron of the Friends of St Michael's Church in Beccles.

Martin Bell has been installed as a new patron of the Friends of St Michael's Church in Beccles. - Credit: Archant

Author, journalist and politician Martin Bell OBE has been welcomed as the new patron of the Friends of St Michael’s Church in Beccles.

The south porch of St Michael's Church

The south porch of St Michael's Church - Credit: Nick Butcher

Mr Bell has strong links with the town, having been born and bred in Redisham where his father Adrian became a famous author and farmer. He is already a patron of the Public Hall in Beccles and is president of Beccles Society.

Mr Bell formally accepted the role on Wednesday evening at the Town Hall where he was joined by members of the Friends of St Michaels and guests at the Mayor’s Appeal Supper hosted by Beccles mayor Hugh Taylor.

Mr Bell said that he was “honoured” to take up the position and that he considered the task faced by the Friends group to raise sufficient funds to restore the magnificent South Porch of St Michael’s to be one of considerable importance to the town and the wider community. He wished everyone concerned well in their endeavours.

The Friends of St Michael’s formed two years ago with the aim of raising at least £75,000 to pay for urgent work on the south porch, which has been battered over the years by the wind from across the marshes. They have so far raised over £30,000.

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The campaign was given a £3,555 boost earlier this month when a cheque was donated by the organisers of Beccles Charter Weekend.

After welcoming Mr Bell to the town once again, the group moved to Market Row Cafe for a three-course meal, followed by a short talk from Mr Bell about his life, memories and attachment to Beccles - which included stories about his father’s home in Northgate, The Ship pub and other buildings in the town.

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The Friends of St Michael’s hold a coffee morning every Friday in the church, and are always looking for new members to join.

Anyone interested can find out more at

Do you have a Beccles story? Email or call 01502 712060 to speak to a reporter.

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