Thank you so much to everyone who has supported the work of St Nicolas Church Restoration Group over the last twelve months. What a year it has been, with some wonderful entertainment in the church – an Evening with David Fletcher from ‘Flog It’, a stunning violin concert where we all discovered just how versatile a violin can be, and unraveled the mysteries of ‘looping’, and finishing with another superb Trumpet concert at the end of November ,with John Barker.
The highlight of the year though must be the journey to Huntingdon on that beautiful vintage bus that Paul and Wendy Baker so kindly provided so that we could all attend the planning meeting in Huntingdon. What a thrilling night that proved to be. Since that meeting, we have sent in all the reports and documents that the Council requested, and hope to hear any day now that we have fulfilled all their requirements, and can move the restoration of St Nicolas to the next stage.
Thank you all for the wonderful support that you have given us so far. It is a big project, and will not happen overnight, but every day is another step closer to completion, and we could not have got the project this far without you.
On behalf of everyone on the Restoration Group, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas, and best wishes for 2019.
St Nicolas Church Restoration Group
Tuesday, 29th May, was an historic moment for St Nicolas Church as we finally received planning permission from Huntingdon District Council for the sympathetic changes which need to be made to the church in order to enhance its facilities, thus enabling it to become a more viable community asset that can be used to benefit the whole community, not just regular worshipers.
None of this could have happened without the wonderful support of you all. Our District Councillor said that whilst the Council were used to receiving over 100 letters of objection, he could not think of a single instance where they had received over 100 letters of support, which made our case very unusual! You have all been absolutely amazing, whether writing letters, giving up your evening on Tuesday to come and show your support by sitting in the Public Gallery at the council meeting until late into the night, or attending or organising fund-raising activities to help fund the Restoration work.
I would particularly like to thank Paul and Wendy Baker who very generously provided us with transport on Tuesday evening, in the form of a beautiful old vintage bus, to take everyone to the meeting in Huntingdon. This was its final act of public service as it is being retired to a museum in Sussex next week.
We now look forward to the next phase of the project, as we continue towards delivering the necessary changes to St Nicolas Church for the benefit of the residents of Hail Weston, everyone in our benefice, our visitors and future generations.
– St Nicolas Church Restoration Group
The Rev Nicki Bland was installed as Church of England Priest-in-Charge of Great and Little Staughton and Hail Weston at a service on Tuesday 6th September.
Her ‘institution and licensing’ was overseen by the Bishop of Huntingdon and Archdeacon of Huntingdon and Wisbech in a packed church (St Andrew’s Great Staughton). During the service, Nicki was formally welcomed by various representatives from the church and local community. The evening ended with drinks, nibbles and time for chatting. As well as thanking the organisers, the Archdeacon thanked retired members of clergy who have helped with services during the time since Judy retired. Nicki gave special thanks to her husband John for his hard work since they moved into the vicarage at Great Staughton in July.
Nicki and John’s little grandson behaved impeccably throughout!
Following our second meeting on 29th February, we have now produced a Statement of Significance, which is a document that lays out why the Church of St Nicolas is so important, both historically and to the local community. This is accompanied by a Statement of Need which explains why we feel that some re-ordering of the church is needed now. Both documents will be submitted shortly to the Diocese Advisory Council in Ely, along with some provisional sketches, and hopefully once these are accepted, the first of our four projects will be under way officially.
In the meantime, there is plenty to do, including making provision during re-ordering for the welfare of the bats who live in and around the churchyard, seeking funding, organising a bank account, visiting other churches and learning from their experiences, and researching new ideas so that any changes will be sympathetic to the needs and character of our church in the centuries to come.
Getting everything pulled together will take time, but it is exciting to be taking these first steps and feel that our project is finally getting under way.
3rd March 2016