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Letter from the Chairman June 2021 – the 2020-2021 year in review

 CONTRIBUTION – RESTORATION – CONSERVATION 

(Download link to read offline)

11th June 2021 

Dear Friends, 

I am delighted to be writing to you as Chairman of The Friends of St Anne’s Church, Kew about our achievements and performance over this past year and our plans going forward. 

Firstly, on behalf of the Executive Committee, I would like to thank you so much for your support and generous contributions during the turbulent past year. 

I will now tell you a little more detail about our achievements and performance over this past year. 

Financial review (Download Statement of Account for the year ending 5th April 2021). 

In line with the goal of financing the renovation of the churchyard wall, The Friends have donated a further £28,667 during the year 2020-2021 to St Anne’s PCC to help fund the completion of this project. The deficit for the year of £17,661 is largely the result of those donations to St Anne’s PCC, so is a successful outcome. Total income in the year was £11,820 despite the pandemic, arising from subscriptions, the generosity of our members and others who viewed our on-line events, and also from a successful collaboration with Kew Cricket Club, inspired by a mutual member. The income reflects the hard work of so many in putting on the on-line events. 

The Trustees of The Friends have set a reserves policy that reflects its objects – it only seeks to hold reserves sufficient to fund the overheads needed to continue its operations for the coming year, this being no more than £1,000. Reserves above that amount are held solely with the aim of funding suitable projects identified by St Anne’s PCC. Reserves are now being re-built to fund the next proposed project, a pathway in the churchyard. 

Having completed the two-year restoration of the church wall in August 2020, I confirm that we did submit a proposal to the PCC for our next fundraising project, the restoration and repair of the pathway running through St Anne’s Churchyard. This is part of the St Anne’s Master Plan and our proposal was accepted. We will keep you updated in Autumn 2021 on the start of that project. 

With the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic in Spring 2020, as you are aware, we had to postpone all our planned spring 2020 events. However, after much discussion and organization, in September 2020 we commenced our new experience of running virtual events via Zoom Webinar. Initially we envisaged 

running two events as a trial but, as it became evident that this was the only way forward to keep in touch with you and the events were proving popular, we continued running one a month apart from January 2021, right through to April 2021 – 8 events in total. (The last event, in May 2021, will be included in next year’s accounts.) 

The events were as follows: 

“RAPHAEL: A MASTER IN THE MAKING’’ by Siân Walters MA (Cantab) 

‘’BRITAIN AS WORKSHOP OF THE WORLD’’ by Anna Warrillow 

‘’TURNER, ROMANTICISM & THE MODERN WORLD’’ by Dr David Bellingham 

‘’THE PRINCESS’S GARDEN – Royal Intrigue and the Untold Story of Kew” by Vanessa Berridge 

‘’THE ART OF INNOVATION – From Enlightenment to Dark Matter’’ by Dr Tilly Blyth 

‘’THE GEORGIAN VISITOR’’ by Richard Wheeler 

‘’GAINSBOROUGH IN LONDON” by Dr Susan Sloman, FSA 

We are very thankful to all our wonderful speakers, many of whom had never operated a virtual event previously and were naturally apprehensive. However, help was on hand, and they all benefited enormously from the support and amazing assistance that Richard Lebus, the Chairman of the Arts Society Richmond, gave them – and to us. We are very indebted to him. Last August 2020 Richard, acknowledging The Friends as a fundraising charity, generously offered us the Arts Society Zoom Webinar account to operate our virtual events. Not only did this facility save us the yearly cost of £1300, but without his expertise in Zoom IT support we could not have got our programme off the ground. 

In anticipation that we can resume ‘live events’ in the Church Parish Hall from September 2021, we have already lined up some interesting and topical speakers for Autumn 2021 and Spring 2022. These events will be ‘streamed’ via Zoom Webinar should a guest speaker not be resident in London. These events will be ticketed, even if on zoom, rather than rely on donations. We look forward to your continued support. More updated information in August. 

Wendy Booth, our Membership Secretary, administers our members. At the end of the 2020 / 2021 financial year membership stood at 155, with 13 members joining during the year. Subscriptions became due on 6th April 2021 and membership is currently at 152, with some renewals still being received. We gathered a database of around 100 extra interested people (non- members) during the past eight months who have requested regular information about our virtual events. We hope we can convert these to members. 

Paul Booth, our Webmaster, stepped down in Autumn 2020 from running our website. This is now jointly administered by Simon Mollett, our Elected Treasurer, and Adam Watson, not a member of the Executive Committee. I am sure you would like to join me in expressing our thanks, gratitude and appreciation for all Paul achieved and contributed towards The Friends Charity and the website over the past four and a half years. 

Sadly, as you are aware, Fr Nigel Worn, our President, retired on 23rd May 2021. There is a Tribute on our Website www.friendsofstanneskew.org.uk ‘’TRIBUTE TO Fr NIGEL WORN – PRESIDENT OF THE FRIENDS OF ST ANNE’S CHURCH KEW. ON HIS RETIREMENT May 23rd, 2021.May 12th, 2021 (Given live to Fr Nigel at the end of the Friends Event 12th May 2021) 

We look forward to welcoming our new President and new Vicar of St Anne’s in 2022. 

Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to all those who have served on The Friends Executive Committee over the past year. Fr Nigel Worn, President, Cate Lyon, Churchwarden, Bill Cottle, Churchwarden, Simon Mollett, Treasurer, Ben Jones, Secretary, Wendy Booth, Membership Secretary, Phyllis Cunningham, Linda Pethick and Gemma Roundell. 

Bill unfortunately came to the end of his appointment as Churchwarden in May 2021 and consequently has stepped away from the Executive Committee. Bill always contributed so much advice and wisdom, he will be missed and we thank him. Fortunately he is a Friend and we look forward to his valuable comments. In his place we welcome John Mortley whom you will meet at the AGM. 

We do have two Trustee vacancies on our Executive Committee and would appreciate any of you coming forward – we are a vibrant and active group of Trustees and would welcome new and interesting ideas to keep up our momentum. 

On behalf of The Friends of St Anne’s Executive Committee, may we thank you all so much for your continued support. We look forward to welcoming you live at the AGM on Saturday 3rd July 2021 at 11 am, hopefully in the Parish Hall. If, however, Government regulations prevent this, we will switch to a virtual meeting as in 2020. You will be informed. 

In anticipation, we do hope we can welcome you as a valued member of The Friends to our fundraising events in Autumn 2021 and Spring 2022. 

Yours Sincerely 

Lorraine Neale 

Chairman, The Friends of St Anne’s Church, Kew 

Registered charity No. 1085389