Friends of St Helen’s
The Friends and our purpose
Founded in 1970–1, the Friends was registered as a charity in 1995–6. The constitution expresses our aim as ‘the preservation, repair and restoration of St Helen’s church building for the benefit of the public by provision of funds and equipment in co-operation with the Parochial Church Council’.
Will you join the Friends?
St Helen’s church is Wheathampstead’s most ancient and beautiful building. It stands not only as a striking landmark but as a symbol of faith and hope enduring down the ages. It has witnessed at least 800 years of baptisms, weddings and funerals. The history of the village is bound up within its walls. A sanctuary in the midst of turmoil, it gives us all pause for thought in troubled times.
However, walls don’t stay standing without support – of the financial variety, as well as solid stone. Will you be a buttress? Do you value our shared village heritage? If so, do please consider joining the Friends. While we are privileged to have such a lovely focal point at the heart of our village, it does not come without great cost. The recent restoration of the chancel area of the church cost £50,000, half of which was funded by the Friends. We are now contributing towards the cost of restoring the south porch and tower.
Work on preserving the medieval building that is St Helen’s church will never end. There will always be a need for funds. Those who have gone before us have left us a goodly heritage, and it is up to us to carry on the good work for future generations to enjoy.
Who are our Friends?
Membership comes from the community at large as well as church members. Some of our Friends have remained Friends in spite of moving away from the area, and we greatly value their loyalty and contributions.
Were you baptised or married at St Helen’s? Or have you attended the funeral of a member of your family or a friend? If so, you may like, in memory of that person or event, to sustain a link with the building where such a turning point in your life occurred. Joining the Friends could provide a wonderful opportunity for such an on-going link.
We are now especially seeking new members and hope that you will decide to complete and return the membership form (click here).
By joining the Friends you can be confident that your contributions will help to ensure the future of a building that is the focal point in the Wheathampstead landscape, and so much more.
Over the years the Friends have contributed to the following projects:
- repair and support of the North Wall
- recovering of the South transept roof
- renovation and repair of the tower and spire
- external stonework repairs
- repair and renovation of the triple lancet windows
- stained glass window protection
- publication of St Helen’s Church: A Brief History and Guide
- restoration of the west end wall
- restoration of the chancel ceiling
- improvement of drainage
All subscribers are sent an Annual Report and new subscribers will be sent a complimentary copy of the Brief History and Guide.
Members have the opportunity to:
- join in social and fund-raising activities
- attend the AGM
- offer themselves for election to serve as a trustee, or help in organising activities
The annual contribution is at your discretion, but we ask for a minimum of £5 (OAP £3) which relates to individual or family membership as you may choose. In most respects individual and family membership offer the same opportunities and rights, except that at meetings each family has only one vote. If full voting rights at meetings are required, then individual membership should be chosen. If you are a taxpayer, please indicate YES in the box for Gift Aid to enable us to enhance your contribution by claiming a refund from the Inland Revenue.