Hatley St George church Task Group is getting on with things

Its purpose is to help the building last another 800 years

A stone head of Queen Victoria carved as a stop at the base of the south door arch at Hatley St George church, Hatley St George, Cambridgeshire.

The Task Group had its third meeting on 30th January – Hilary confirmed it is now an official sub-group of the Parochial Church Council (PCC) in Gamlingay.

Its members are Revd Hilary Young, Michael Astor, Laurence Drake, Ben Hewlett, Penny Hewlett, Sue Parrish and Sarah Titmus – now joined by Ella Astor, who will put her social media knowledge to good use for Hatley St George church.

Third meeting, 30th January 2020

It’s still early days for the Group, so inevitably before bigger things can be done there are many little things which need sorting – from upgrading the fuse in the church to finding past PCC minutes in Gamlingay vestry and chasing the faculty office in Ely regarding a Lottery application.

  • Micky reported the edges of the organ have been sealed to prevent asbestos seepage; he’s also completing a checklist for the diocese tree specialist to obtain permission for work on trees.
  • Laurence has installed a 6.5m ladder in the tower – organising a group to investigate the state of tower is his next task… as well as taking advice on the state of the font.

Some new tasks have been noted:

  • Hatley Village Association to be asked to fund a burse, stole and veil in all seasons brocade for the church.
  • Organise a church fête as a fundraiser.
  • To investigate the shields of arms in the church with the purpose of advertising points of interest for visitors in the form of a booklet.

The Group’s next meeting is on 5th March – we’ll report the outcome in a future news item.

How it all started

The Task Group came out a meeting of Hatley Parish Council on 24th September 2019 when the Revd Hilary Young explained the issues currently facing Hatley St George church and expressed her hopes of securing the support of Hatley parishioners.

The founding Group’s members were Revd Hilary Young, Michael Astor, Laurence Drake, Sarah Titmus, Sue Parrish, Ben Hewlett and Penny Hewlett.

As reported in the minutes of the Parish Council’s meeting

Currently there are no Hatley representatives on the Parochial Church Council (PCC) in Gamlingay, although help is given for special occasions at the church which is evidenced by the residents’ desire to use the church.

Questions have arisen regarding the future of the church, as some members in Gamlingay might consider it to be a financial burden. It is possible to make Hatley St George church a ‘festival’ church but the Reverend’s aim is to ensure this place of worship remains available to its rural community. [She subsequently confirmed the church is a ‘Chapel of Ease’ and therefore not required to have a service every Sunday – services are held twice a month.]

The church requires a great deal of repair and maintenance work, which was identified in its 2018 quinquennial report – an architectural inspection every church has to undertake every five years.

The most significant issues relate to the roof and the drainage system – there are concerns the rising water level is a result of the original drains having collapsed and therefore a full survey is required.

It is also desirable to make the church more comfortable in winter months, as the current heating system is not very effective. The PCC is keen to get an improvement project started in the next couple of years but requires support and expertise for such projects from the Hatley community.

The Parish Council recommended the monthly coffee morning as a good starting point to approach residents on this subject and the Clerk offered to include an article on this matter in the next Hatley newsletter [November 2019].

The Chairman suggested details of the running costs of the church and required project work are shared with the community and informed Revd Young there is a concern among some in Hatley that funds raised for Hatley St George church are placed in the Gamlingay ‘pot’ for spending – Revd Young advised St Mary’s Church in Gamlingay pays for itself whereas Hatley St George church only raises approximately half of the funds it requires to operate each year.

She will gladly oversee a maintenance project but needs help to write grant applications and to see the project through at ground level. Cllr Astor offered to approach a number of residents to see if they might help to kickstart a project.

First meeting, 12th November 2019

From the meeting with Hatley Parish Council came the Task Group, which had its first meeting on 12th November, agreeing to:

  • Obtain help with a Lottery Fund application.
  • Check the faculty requirements.
  • Check the existence of an electrical safety certificate.
  • Check the state of the electrical equipment in the church.
  • Remove asbestos within the organ.
  • Look at the drains and gutter situation.
  • Decide which trees within the churchyard need some attention.
  • Obtain a ladder for the tower.

Second meeting, 5th December 2019

The outcome of its second meeting on 5th December was:

  • The Task Group must be formally set up as advisory to the PCC.
  • Hilary thought the electrics and heating should take priority.
  • She had found an electrical report dated June 2018 and certified for five years.
  • It stated remedial work had been done but much of the electrics were at the end of life – and suggested removing the heater from the organ. Micky said he would follow this up.
  • Hilary would ask colleagues from the faculty office in Ely to come out to discuss putting together a Lottery application and seek permission for any alterations.
  • Laurence offered to look at the font because the decorative pillars were in danger of falling off.

Micky had several outstanding matters in hand:

  • The issue of the asbestos within the organ could be rectified by painting the edges to seal it for £200 to £300 and a certificate issued.
  • Regarding the ladder, he’d been advised an ordinary ladder with a fixed fall arrest system would suffice.
  • The drains and gutters would be looked at after Christmas.
  • The trees would also be pruned in January and the dead tree would be taken down.

The Group’s next meeting is on 30th January – the main points are noted at the top of this page.

Links about the church

Post created 27th January 2020. Updated 10th February 2020.