January 2018


newsletter january 2018



Dear Friend

Christmas is past and gone, as is 2017, which in many respects was a doleful year, full of human tragedy and natural disasters. It is salutary to reflect that though dreadful things may happen, to anyone, at any time, particularly in the exceptionally dangerous hotspots of the globe, where unkindness and cruelty seem to flourish, that basic human “loving kindness” also flourishes. In a very minor way, this is echoed at St Gregory’s, where, following a request for cleaning help several stalwart and energetic Friends sallied forth in December, armed with brushes, dusters, polish, mops and vacuum cleaners. Your “loving kindness” to the Minster has been gratefully noted; thank you, most sincerely. 

Standing as I am under the lintel of Janus’ doorway as it were, looking backwards in reminiscence, I feel we can also look forwards with hope. Although we have lost some Friends (remembered with affection and gratitude), we have gained some new ones (welcomed with delight), so the status quo is virtually unchanged.

Remaining in backward-looking mode for a moment more, I am very happy to report that the long awaited professional cleaning of the Anglo-Saxon sundial has been completed; it is such a pleasure to be able to see the lettering clearly again. In addition the expert conservator has cleaned the two tomb covers which flank the south door, within the porch - a great improvement.

Looking forward to February Fill-Dyke (if one can do this, as we seem to have had quite enough snow and rain already) and to the ensuing Spring and Summer months, the Friends will be offered the usual programme of events. The Trustees are already working on arrangements for the AGM on Saturday 12th May, to be followed by a Lecture from a guest speaker, and tea thereafter; and during the Sunday morning choral service there will be the traditional recitation of the List of Benefactors. Luncheon will follow. Details for this will follow in due course. All I can say at this moment is that, as “The Friends of St Gregory’s Minster” celebrates thirty years of existence (1988-2018)  there will definitely be cake at the AGM tea! We celebrate St Gregory’s Patronal Festival in September, and again the Trustees are working on arrangements for the Friends' Luncheon after the choral service. Details will follow in due course.

If you have newly embraced computers and email, please do let me know your new email address. Where possible email is the preferred mode of contact, as electronic mail is much cheaper, and faster, than snail mail.

Whilst on the subject of computers, you may be unaware that “The Friends of St Gregory’s Minster” has its own web-page, at: www.kirkdalechurches.org.uk/st-gregorys-kirkdale.

A final thought: the Minster is a peaceful, beautiful place, which has sheltered people for centuries. There are experts within our ranks who can reflect on the Minster’s long history (see, for example, The Kirkdale Lecture) in a far more detailed and precise way than I. Notwithstanding, it recently struck me that the building is not just a monument to, and of, history, nor simply a religious edifice, but a structure which has attracted the care, concern and loving interest of so many people, from Orm Gamalson onwards, throughout many, many years. To this end I hope in subsequent Newsletters to record the reminiscences of those who have had a long association with the Minster. I would, of course, be very interested to hear from any Friend who can help in this way.

I wish you a very happy Spring, and thank you, as ever, for being such a loyal and supportive Friend.


Heather Harris


Tel: 01723_850558; email: westlands.harris@btinternet.com


The Trustees: Mrs Heather Harris (Chairman); Mrs Margery Roberts (Honorary Secretary); Mrs Diana Pearce (Honorary Treasurer); Reverend Susan Binks; Professor Sid Bradley; Mr Bob Chapple; Mrs Erica Dineen; Mr James Lloyd; Mr Gordon Mellor and Mr John Turner.  “The Friends of St Gregory’s Minster” is a charity registered with the Charity Commission, Charity Number 700344.