October 2017


newsletter october 2017



Dear Friend

Keats’s “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” has arrived; the autumnal putting back of the clocks is upon us; and the thud of charity catalogues falling onto the doormat all indicate that Christmas will soon be upon us. Tempus fugit, and in no uncertain manner!

Looking forward to Christmas, I am delighted to say that the Minster Carol Services will take place on Saturday 17th December and Sunday 18th December.  For the benefit of new Friends I should explain that these Services are identical, but are held on consecutive days to accommodate everyone who likes to attend this traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols.  (Free) ticket allocation means that the Churchwardens know how many attendees to expect and can seat them in safety. A ticket booking form is attached to this newsletter; please be sure to apply for tickets in good time, as seating is limited. If you cannot collect your tickets in person, it would be extremely helpful if you would enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Thank you so much.

Looking back:

The Patronal Festival on St Gregory’s Day, Sunday 3rd September was well attended by Friends. The Guest Preacher at the morning Choral Service was Father Richard Martin, Archdeacon of Kalk Bay in South Africa. Dr Francis Jackson, who is, as you know, one of our Patrons, was also in attendance. Luncheon followed, at which the Archdeacon was presented by a memento of the day by the Friends. The Friends also presented Dr Jackson with a card and gift in honour of his approaching 100th birthday.

The Lindisfarne Pilgrimage ran from 17th – 22nd September, led by Sid Bradley, the Revd Susan Binks and Archdeacon Martin. I am told it was a very happy time, and that the pilgrims returned home greatly refreshed. Barbara Hart, Friend and pilgrim writes:

Fourteen of us made the pilgrimage to Holy Island this year, including the Ven. Richard Martin visiting from South Africa. After a short dedication led by the Revd Susan Binks, we travelled to St Peter’s Church, Monkwearmouth, home of the Venerable Bede in the 7th century AD and part of the Anglo-Saxon Wearmouth-Jarrow monastery. After lunch and a talk about the site we continued to Lindisfarne.

Over the next few days we had an uplifting time together. We were privileged to have a moving talk from Sid about the Coffin of St Cuthbert and to learn more about St Hilda and St Aidan from Sue. We visited the Farne Islands on Tuesday after which we descended on The Links Restaurant in Seahouses and persuaded them to give us dinner. On Wednesday afternoon a small number of us walked to Emmanuel Head to sing to the seals and Thursday morning found us altogether at St Aidan’s Church in Bamburgh. The pilgrimage closed at Durham Cathedral on Friday with a visit to the Open Treasure Complex followed by Evensong.

Special thanks to Sue, Richard and Margaret Timbrell for the reflections, to Carole and Margery for leading the music, and last but not least to Sid for organising the trip.

Thank you, Barbara. If any Friends would be interested in helping to organise a pilgrimage in the future, please contact the Chairman (details below).

Many Friends were able to attend Harvest Festival (Choral Evensong) in the Minster on 8th October, and, again, Dr Jackson was in attendance. The choir sang  “Happy Birthday” for him, the music for which had been specially arranged by the Director of Music, John Hastie, incorporating the styles of Bach, Psalmody and Ravel, reflecting some of Dr Jackson’s favourite music.

Also for your consideration:

It is well known that many Friends help in many different ways to preserve the Minster, but a special call for help is being made by Mrs Gwen Wood, and Mrs Erica Dineen. If there is any Friend who could offer regular assistance with cleaning, for however small an area, please would you contact Mrs Wood on 01751_431549  or Mrs Dineen on 01751_431377  who will be delighted to hear from you.

Mr John Dean (Friend) is promoting a new venture. He writes” I’d like to let you know of a proposed new venture – Kirkdale Heritage Study Group – reflecting local interest in the local history, heroes and heritage of Beadlam, Nawton and Kirkdale. For more information please contact me on email johnopenlearning@yahoo.co.uk  or write to me at Manor Farm House, Beadlam, YO62 7SX”.

Finally, if any Friend who has hitherto been dependent on snail mail but is now newly embracing email, please would you let Mrs Margery Roberts, Honorary Secretary, (margery.njroberts@gmail.com) have your new email address. This change from paper to email communication would be instrumental in reducing an increasingly large postage bill.

Thank you for reading this, and, what is even more important - thank you for being a Friend.

Sincerely, with very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,

Heather Harris


Telephone: 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.