Projects & Appeals 2021
Patio and Paths Project
Following a unanimous vote by Thorpe PCC, held via Zoom on Monday 20th July 2020, we submitted an application for a faculty to complete three aspects of paving work in and around the churchyard of St Mary’s Church, Thorpe, to improve safety, drainage and access, and to open up additional use of our outdoor realm:
1. Patio Project – the levelling and surfacing of the area between the Medieval Church, Link and Rurtherwyke / Wallace Room (halls complex) on the south western side of the church, to create a single, safe, non-slip surface for various use and improved accessibility & drainage. This area will act as a spill-out space from the Rutherwyke Room and be essential for events, fundraising, and activities, not least with social distancing requirements. The plan includes drainage improvements and renewal of the soak-away, to help mitigate against sudden / large downpours with a central drainage point and new drainage channel installed around the edge of the patio to prevent run-off towards the buildings. It also provides step-free access directly into the Rutherwyke Room. The existing gravestones (which were moved in the 1980’s to this position when the Rutherwyke Room / Hall was built) are to be relocated within 6 meters, some laid flat again in a remaining gravel area, and some mounted against the west facing Wallace Room wall. The existing edging stones in the raised area will be re-used, and as much of the existing bricks again re-used where possible (probably no more than 40%) in the new configuration with new brickwork chosen to best match the existing village brick pathways. The existing lighting bollard will be retained/repaired/replaced like for like and re-located to the side of the Church.
2. Link Footpath between St Mary’s Tudor brick Tower and St Mary’s gate / TASIS American School Car Park access: we plan to re-surface this walkway with the same village brick, bringing the width, fall and safety of the sloping pathway up to standard.
3. Churchyard footpath between the boiler house and existing ramp/ south eastern entrance to the Rutherwyke Room (Kitchen door). To rectify an anomaly – the width of this short section of footpath, just 5 meters long, is 2 bricks narrower than all the other sections of path around the Church building and therefore below standard. The plan is to widen this path by two bricks, bringing it up to standard making the path accessible to wheelchairs or a buggy. This path is presently part of our one-way entrance route into St Mary’s as part of our (Covid-secure) re-opening of St Mary’s Church for some said services.
In preparation for this work we held meetings on site in November and March with our Church Architect Mike Staff, RIBA AABC (Architect Accredited in Building Conservation and director of Nye Saunders of 3 Church Street, Godalming, Surrey. GU7 1EQ - Registration number: 7435882). We commissioned a full drainage survey and consulted with Runnymede Borough Council (Andrew Hill - Historic Buildings Consultant) and our neighbours. Aspect 1 & 2 have been drawn up by our church architect, Mike Staff of Nye Saunders and plans are included showing the scheme, along with drainage survey.
27/08 We have received a grant of £250 from the Rowan Bentall Trust - Thank you! Could you help?
The cost of scope of works (inc VAT) is around £14k, which is more then previously planned as we added in additional works to expand the eastern churchyard path by two bricks width, to comply with safety and access regulations, as this is the present entrance to the church and halls during this time of pandemic and social distancing. In October 2020 we had raised enough money to complete this first phase of work and widen the footpath through the churchyard, making our temporary Covid-secure entrance (one-way system) much safer for all.
In Spring 2021 we received a £4k grant from Surrey County Council to help with the cost of improving drainage and making a safe patio area between the Church, Link and Rutherwyke Room, which we hope will be completed by June 2021 in time for our planned socially distanced summer fair.
The remaining part of this project, the improvement of the footpath down to TASIS and St Mary's gate is on hold until funds permit.
St Mary's Church Thorpe 2021
Audio Visual & Electrical Project 2021
The aim of this project is to provide the very latest methods of relaying our beautiful worship to as many people as possible using technology while also saving energy use and we seek to increase engagement from a younger group of people who find visual technology more helpful. This is not about changing our church tradition, rather helping our congregations, our local schools and community access the treasures we have already, while also improving the reliability of our equipment.
In 2018 our existing sound system was fully inspected and serviced and this raised a number of issues including the lack of digital capacity. During 2019/2020 Thorpe PCC interviewed three AV providers, all recommended by Guildford Diocese. Of these we have chosen to work with DM, a specialist sound and visual firm who understand historic buildings and have worked with the team in providing solutions to enhance our offering while keeping the technology used discreet and reducing our energy consumption.
Then the pandemic hit. All services were moved online, at first delivered from the Vicarage study and the homes of our clergy team. Later we moved back into church and soon realised we were asking too much of our 30 year old sound equipment. We also found our rather temporary internet connection via St Mary's Vicarage was not reliable enough for a prolonged period of live streaming services. So, this project took on new meaning as we added live streaming of services to this plan. To date we have worked hard with what we have got and a range of temporary improvements, but technical challenges persist, so Thorpe PCC voted unanimously (March 2021) to proceed with a faculty application via Guildford Diocesan Advisory Committee, to see major enhancements as we desire to find solutions that will meet our 21st century digital needs, including our determination to continue live streaming the Sunday Eucharist, indefinitely. In April 2021 we hope to install telephone and internet services directly into the Church building for the first time in our 1000 year history, which will take us a step closer to improving our offering. However, the most significant cost is the upgrade of our sound system. We need a new digital mixing desk and control facilities, radio microphones and links to our existing speakers indoors and outside. In addition, we would like to introduce one screen (set under the Rood, above the Norman Arch to be enclosed in a black casing and motorised so not visible when up inside the casing) along with LED projection in several locations, mounted high up on the black beams around the church building to allow for images to be projected onto the screen and four other existing walls. We also hope to mount a live-streaming camera under the central nave chandelier so the temporary equipment can be moved to open back up the centre of the Nave.
We anticipate the enhanced AV technology will have many uses, from regular worship and Family Services to conferencing, away days and special services, Civic events and School use - among others. One suggestion is the setting-up of a monthly Film Club. Most of all, we hope that bringing St Mary's presentation into the 21st century will allow more people of all ages to engage in God's Word and Sacrament - offering the very best of who we are back to God from whom all good things come.
This project includes a significant enhancement to our electrical system, introducing RCD's to the fuse box for all circuits, new wiring to the boiler house, additional safety with new earthing and supply feeds to the proposed projectors and enhanced sound system and additional lighting above the children's corner. This essential electrical work accounts for nearly 1/4 of the total project cost but will improve our electrical system and the safety of all in church.
In January 2021 Thorpe PCC applied to the Culture Recovery Fund for a grant towards the cost of this project but sadly we were not successful. We have now applied to the Marshalls Charity, which we hope will see the great benefit this work will have for our faith community and the wider church and Village who love their church and would be able to use this technology in creative ways. There is always a warm welcome for all at St Mary's Church, Thorpe and your PCC and Ministry Team wish that to be so for the coming years as we seek to recover from this time of pandemic and challenge for many.
If you would like to make a donation in support of this project, please use the donate button below, or send cheques (made payable to Thorpe PCC) to: The Parish Office, St Mary's Church Thorpe, Church Approach, Thorpe Village, Egham, Surrey, TW20 8TQ. Thank you and do get in touch with your ideas, thoughts and suggestions.