The Annual Meeting Wednesday 6 June THE FRIENDS OF WAKEFIELD CHANTRY CHAPEL
Registered charity no 1004105
Chairman’s Report for the Year 2011-12
To be presented at the Annual Meeting at 7.30pm on 6 June in the Chantry
The past year has been the most active that we have experienced since we were formed in 1990. But it has also brought great sadness
Our long-standing treasurer, Harry Livesey, died on 15 April. He had looked after our money since 2001, coping with all the additional financial transactions we had in 2007 when lead thieves damaged the roof and parapet, and the substantial work involved in 2009-10 during the reordering scheme. It was a position to which he was utterly dedicated and he has left our records in excellent order, maintained almost until the day of his death.
Whilst the proposals submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2009 for the reordering scheme, included the provision of workshops and visits from school groups, the whole of the income for the project was taken up by the reordering. However we were awarded £20,000 at the end of the last financial year from the Esmee Fairbairn foundation, with an initial sum of £14,000 coming in on 3 April 2011. This is being carefully laid out via the Education Department at the Cathedral and there have already been many successful workshops and school visits masterminded by the hugely creative Ali Bullivent.
During 2011-12 we returned to our practice of holding open days on public-holiday Mondays. And we opened again for the National Heritage weekend in September. Additonally, as a consequence of the opening of the Hepworth Wakefield, we opened for two hours every Wednesday afternoon in June, July and August 2011. Craft workshops were an additional attraction on all the August open afternoons. Visitor numbers were good – as many as 65 in the two hour period on some days – but the income from donations was disappointing. Nevertheless we shall hold similar open afternoons this summer.
For our Annual Meeting in June 2011 we were able to return to the Chantry and much enjoyed the slide presentation by Malcolm Warburton on his recent visit to India under the title Delhi, Agra & Rajasthan - a journey in search of the Moghuls’.
We have continued to take part in the Wakefield Art Walk which is organised for us by Gallery Arts, led by Brian Holding.
Brian Holding and Gallery Arts marked the opening of the Hepworth Wakefield in May 2011 by holding a week-long exhibition of work by local artists in the Chantry at the same time. It was immensely successful attracting some 1500 visitors.
Our programme of Adult Education has included a talk in June 2011 on Green Men and Gargoyles, further talks in October 2011 on Aspects of the Diocese of Wakefield, and a talk on November on Sacred Landscapes. Brian Holding took up the gargoyle theme himself and photographed many of these water-spouts at churches across the diocese, providing a presentation of the images at our open day on 29 August. He and his wife, Shirley, provided a gargoyle-making workshop on the same day.
Other events during the year were an evening’s entertainment by the Greener Girls in June, music for Advent by St Austin’s Choir in November, and Music and Readings for Christmas by the Accord Singers in December,
Members of the Roman Catholic church held a mass on 15 August for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to which Friends were invited.
As a new venture we held a Macmillan Coffee Morning in September, giving all the proceeds directly to Macmillan Cancer Support.
The year saw an increased number of visits by groups, including a number of coach parties visiting both the Hepworth Wakefield and ourselves. Among them have been branches of the National Trust, and Fine Arts Societies. Wakefield Soroptomists hosted a morning for other members of the Society from across Yorkshire in January 2012.
We have enjoyed some additional income this year from the work of Diana Grudgings in selling advertising space on sheets which now go out with our Newsletters. We have also received a modest income from the collecting boxes placed with local business concerns and we are grateful to them for supporting the Chantry in this way.
Whilst arrangements for acts of worship lie outside the role of the Friends, it is worth noticing that Diana has also prompted the addition of services on third Sunday of each month. However we marked the Harvest Festival on 2 October by organising a collection of fresh and long-life foodstuffs all of which were taken to the Baptist Chapel at Belle Isle for their work with the homeless.
Students of Architecture from both Nottingham and Sheffield Universities have visited the Chantry on a number of occasions: the former were engaged in a project to design a new building on a bridge; the latter were studying a range of buildings in Wakefield to draw up conservation plans.
It is always a source of great pride to us that visitors admire the Chapel and that it is so well maintained. Thanks are due to the Cathedral vergers for their regular and careful work in maintaining the cleanliness of the interior and coping with the composting lavatory!
We issued two new picture postcards during the year – one of the newly re-ordered interior of the chapel and the other of Linda Golding’s delightfully quirky representation of the Chantry and the Hepworth Wakefield. The latter has proved especially popular.
For the third year, we were beneficiaries of the Charles Brotherton Trust. We have also received another welcome grant from the St Oswald Trust.
Members of the Friends have continued to provide valuable help in staffing open days. Among those who have assisted on many occasions, I should like to thank Eileen Calkeld, Betty and David Charlesworth, Joyce Graham, Brian and Shirley Holding, Donald Issatt, Ann Kendall, Sandra Palmer, Wendy Robb, and Jack and Marta Smith. Kate Taylor May 2012