Ashwell United Reformed Church - September 2018

Photo:Order of Service

Order of Service

Jackie Embury

Photo:Ceiling repair

Ceiling repair

Jackie Embury

Photo:Internal scaffolding

Internal scaffolding

Jackie Embury

Photo:Damaged Freize

Damaged Freize

Jackie Embury

Photo:Freize being repaired

Freize being repaired

Jackie Embury

Photo:David Eley replacing damaged freize

David Eley replacing damaged freize

Jackie Embury

Photo:Repaired Freize - work carried out by David Eley

Repaired Freize - work carried out by David Eley

Jackie Embury

Photo:Bee and Wasp nest in old window frame

Bee and Wasp nest in old window frame

Jackie Embury

Photo:Previous colour schemes in kitchenette

Previous colour schemes in kitchenette

Jackie Embury

Photo:Richard Eley

Richard Eley

Jackie Embury

Photo:Floor damage in kitchenette

Floor damage in kitchenette

Jackie Embury

Photo:New Kitchenette

New Kitchenette

Jackie Embury

Photo:New Kitchenette

New Kitchenette

Jackie Embury

Photo:Kitchenette

Kitchenette

Jackie Embury

Photo:Original fireplace

Original fireplace

Jackie Embury

Photo:Reinstated fireplace in vestry

Reinstated fireplace in vestry

Jackie Embury

Photo:Refurbished vestry

Refurbished vestry

Jackie Embury

Photo:Refurbished Vestry

Refurbished Vestry

Jackie Embury

Photo:David Watling making replacement gallery doors

David Watling making replacement gallery doors

Jackie Embury

Photo:Refurbished Church

Refurbished Church

Jackie Embury

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Ashwell United Reformed Church - September 2018' page

Repair/refurbishment 2018

By Jackie Embury

A Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving on the occasion of the repair/refurbishment of Ashwell United Reformed Church and Vestries  was held on Sunday 23 September 2018 – 3 pm led by Revd Jim Dalgleish. 

Vote of thanks given by Jackie Embury 

On behalf of the Elders and Fellowship of Ashwell URC welcome to the celebration and thanksgiving for the repair and redecoration of our church and vestries.  We give thanks to everyone here who has taken an active part in making this project happen either by advice, professional expertise, grants, donations, fundraising or physical hard work.  We have been on a challenging journey trying to keep the integrity of the original 1906 plan by researching documents, uncovering layers of paint and seeking expert advice wherever possible. We put our faith in God and here we are with a facility which the whole village can enjoy for years to come. 

I am sure the members of this church, who in the early 1900s first had the vision to refurbish the interior in the English Art Nouveau style making it very unique, would be pleased to see that it has been restored as faithfully as possible to their original vision and is enhancing worship here every Sunday. 

The idea all started when Paul Morris carried out our quinquennial inspection in 2016.  Paul  advised us that the church ceiling had dropped and was in need of urgent repairs to prevent it collapsing.  Once we discovered it would be necessary to fully scaffold the interior to carry out this work it was decided to go for a complete refurbishment and, while we were at it, to improve the vestry rooms including a kitchenette facility.  This was ambitious and would need serious funding. 

The estimate for this work was in the region of £53,000 an amount of money we did not have in our funds.  So the URC Thames North Synod and Beds and Herts Churches Trust were approached, they both kindly agreed to make a grant available towards this work in a generous total of £30,000 which meant we had to find £23,000 ourselves. 

A letter of appeal was sent to the village and was very well received, it was so encouraging to know that our church was valued and loved by the community. 

Ashwell Show very generously made an award which has paid for the supply of the kitchenette.  Other village organisations, especially those who use our hall were also very supportive with donations and helping with the Saturday afternoon teas. 

County Cllr Steve Jarvis and District Cllr Janine Paterson supported with  NHDC Community Fund grants towards the kitchenette equipment. 

I don’t think we anticipated the amount of goodwill there is in the village and further afield for our church, it has been a very comforting and rewarding experience.  So a very big thank you to all who donated making this project possible.

I am sure many of you will remember Fred Moule a real village character and amongst other things the village chimney sweep, he was a member of our fellowship.  When he died in 2004 he kindly included us in his Will along with other village organisations.   

When work started in the vestry the chimney breast showed a significant crack this was investigated, thankfully it was not serious but at that point it was decided to open up the fireplace making it a feature.   

While this work was being carried out a sweeps brush which had been lodged in the chimney fell down; I immediately thought of dear Fred.

The following day I received a cheque from his solicitors in the sum of £600 our share of insurance policies which had come to light, thank you Fred! It is amazing how the Lord provides. 

Once again we invited Paul Morris of Templers to be our Agent to oversee the whole project, which he has kindly done. 

When Paul had finalised the plans we sent out to tender, choosing A J Cook Builders, together with David Eley who I think you will agree have done a wonderful job.   

The communion furniture was restored by Hamiltons of Newnham in memory of Peter and Sheila Bryant. 

Two years ago I approached Howdens regarding the kitchen units, they drew up the plan and gave us a discounted costing and in spite of price increases kept to the original quote.  Likewise Gary of GKS Scaffolding quoted a very generous price for the internal scaffolding and kept to his original quote, so a big thank you to both Howdens and GKS Scaffolding their generosity helped considerably. 

I have to say that Paul Morris, Steve Cook, David Eley, Richard Eley, Gary of GKS Scaffolding and Paula Crump who advised on the colour scheme were great to work with and I would recommend them to anyone considering undertaking such a project. 

It is through their patience and professional expertise that we have ended up within budget and with more than we could have hoped for.  I would like to thank Paul, Steve, David,  Richard, Gary, Paula and of course, Steve’s team of workers including Steve’s wife Becky and her sister Helen who helped clean up which was a very big undertaking,  all of whom were very professional. 

Finally, I would like to thank my husband Roy and my family for their support and encouragement it has taken a lot of my time overseeing the project;  without Roy providing me with dinners and his patient understanding  I don’t think we would be here today.

As I said after the hall refurbishment in 2009 this will be my last large project!  However that said I am now overseeing a new floor in the small hall. 

So thank you all for your support, I hope that you will now find an occasion to use these excellent facilities, after the service please take your time to look around, ask questions and then join us in the hall for refreshments.

This page was added on 09/10/2018.

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