The New Year is here, and with the end of the Old Year came the close of the SOS (Save Our Steeple) Repair Appeal.  As I write, close to £99,000 has been raised, thanks to the efforts and generosity of many people.  The essential repairs have been done – and paid for.

We started at the May Fair, selling ‘shingle sponsorships’ (and several hundred of the new shingles on the steeple now carry donors’ names).  Soon the scaffolding went up round the church, and roofers and masons set to work.  So did we.

Our numerous letters of appeal met with responses from as far away as Scotland, Devon, Monaco and Ontario, and most of the total came from generous individuals.  Some gave time and trouble too:  Elisabeth Rogers and the Taylors hospitably opened their respective gardens; the Choir sang Stainer’s ‘Crucifixion’, and Andrea Chance told us about icons and how to paint them. We sold White Elephants on Village Day, and Walked the Parish Boundary (or some of it) for sponsorship. Richard Mantle gave an illustrated talk on Hubert de Burgh and Jill Mantle made our supper; Curzon Country Cinema showed Camelot (an oldie and goldie); and finally Peter Staddon organised a Festive Celebration on a grand scale with the Norwood Wind Ensemble and the Show Choir, with grand results.

Grants to help came from the AllChurches Trust, Surrey Churches Preservation Trust, St Mark’s Foundation, Banstead Business Guild, Banstead Flower Club, Surrey County Council via Cllr Ken Gulati’s Membership Allocation, the Pilgrim Pantomime Company, and we were touched that 3rd Banstead Oak Pack Cubs made a donation too.

So we give thanks – to very many individuals and groups, who gave time, energy and money to help, and most of all to the Lord who is the source of all we have and the end of all we do.