|Friendship Room possible uses:
|PCSO (Police) drop-in
|Cheese & Wine
Tell us how YOU could use it.
The Upper Sapey Church Rescue project
"To repair the church and provide a warm, comfortable meeting room,
offering space for all kinds of educational and enjoyable activities including self-help courses
for anxiety sufferers, Keep Fit, crafts, talks, a library, socialising, coffee mornings,
toddler groups etc, for fun and friendship for the entire community, both young and old."
As well as local and community donations, it is only with the support
of several major grants that this project was able to be considered and
completed. In particular, we recognise here grants from:
- Heritage Lottery Fund
- National Churches Trust
- Allchurches Trust
- Hereford Historic Churches Trust
- Garfield Weston Foundation
- Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust
- Wolfson Foundation
- Addenbrooke Nash & Winnington
NEWS-UPDATES (most recent first):
- March 29th 2017. We are now working on a "Taster Week" to be held
10th - 13th April, in the Easter Holidays, when a sample of activities
will be on offer for you to try. Look out for further publicity shortly!
- March 2017. Wow! What a lot has happened since last update here. The
project is practically completed, although there will be a number of
"snags" and fitting-out actions to complete over the coming weeks. We
just about have our financial head above water - for now - but will need
some local fund-raising before we make the final "retention" payment to
the main contractor in December. We seem to have exhausted the source
We had our Official Opening Ceremony on February 18th 2017, and this is how a contributor to our April Parish Magazine described it:
"Great achievements in Upper Sapey
Over sixty of us crowded into Upper Sapey church on a February
afternoon. First impression – it was warm! That is not how I am used to
churches being at this time of year. The occasion was the opening
ceremony for the restored church and a large new meeting room at the
back – Olly’s Friendship Room, of which more later. It is beautifully
designed, with oak frames and lots of glass to show off the 900-year old
Norman Arch and other features. If you try out the new [accessible] toilet, you will find
yourself admiring a richly coloured stained glass window. Where else
could you find that in a loo? Rev David Howell returned to the Parish to
cut the tape and lead a short service with an account of the
project. This has been a major achievement and a wonderful example of
bringing good out of bad. The people of Upper Sapey, and in particular
the small team behind the project, deserve our congratulations. They
have worked together, starting with working parties to take in hand the
overgrown churchyard, and moving on to raise almost £300,000, from a
mixture of their own fund-raising events and grants from trusts and
foundations. Two things gave it impetus - an architect’s inspection
which showed up structural problems threatening the church itself, and
the tragic and untimely death of Oliver Roberts – ‘Olly’. In his early
20s, Olly was prescribed a drug to combat acne which in a few instances
can have devastating side effects. It left him battling with depression,
and experiencing a loneliness and isolation more disturbing than
anyone should have to cope with. Finally, it led to his death aged 32,
in 2012.* The day we opened the room named for him, February 18th, was
his birthday. Olly’s parents, David and Heather spoke during the opening
ceremony, and David was the manager of the whole project. One of Olly’s
characteristics was his kindness. Among his last wishes was to save
other people from going through what he was living with, and he even
dreamed of adapting his home as a resource centre for children to
teach them about the value of kindness and mutual support, whilst
enjoying creativity. Faced with the need for extensive church
renovation, it seemed natural to his family and friends to make
improvements also, and in particular create a comfortable meeting room
at the back of the church, which is in the centre of the village.
It is a community resource where there will be a warm welcome for all
and a programme of events that promote the friendship and belonging that
Olly longed for. Despite my Whitbourne roots, I look forward to
attending some of these events, and I wish the best of luck and
continuing energy to the team behind it. Anyone who wants to book Olly’s Friendship Room can
contact David Roberts (Tel: 01886 853665).
* Anyone who would like to
can read more at www.ollysfriendshipfoundation.org
- December 24th 2016. The "Tour of the Changes" document added to the links above right.
- December 18th 2016: The Church is now OPEN! After nearly a year's
work by our main contractor, M V Gammon, the church of St Michael and
All Angels at Upper Sapey is now open again. We had a very successful
"Come and See" with mince pies and mulled wine on Saturday 17th
December, and the first service will be Holy Communion on Christmas Day
at 9:30am. We hope to see lots of you there. We can promise a warm
church, and space to enjoy a coffee afterwards in the brand new "Olly's Friendship Room". Happy Christmas
- November 9th 2016: All the scaffolding is down inside the church,
electricians are busy connecting up, the end is in sight! Back in the
church by Christmas, and maybe before that (but not for Remembrance
Sunday 13th November). See Newsletter No. 6 for a full report.
- June 8th 2016: The contractors continue to work diligently and
expertly on the church, under the watchful eye of David Roberts, project
manager. We had a very successful topping out party on 31st May with 6 from the
Construction team and 15 from the Community. A yew sprig was duly hoisted, as
tradition dictates, to ward off evil spirits and to be the starting gun for
drinks for the Construction workers!! We thank Andy, Chris Amplett, Val
and Chris Flathers for providing the drinks and homemade quiches and pizzas in
such an efficient way and for generously donating them as well! It was not
intended to be a fundraising event but we have received donations of £15. So thank you to all of you for your support. See the Picture Gallery for some pictures of the event.
Services are taking place in people's homes, although the July
10th service he HOPE will be in church for David's last service in
The LMDG team (the Lay Team) are working with the churchwardens and
Rural Dean Revd Alan Seabrook to organise things during the interregnum.
Visit the LMDG web page for more information.
- April 30th 2016: Saturday Coffee Mornings (somewhere in the village -
look out for signs) continue without a break. Work in the church, and
outside on the walls and tower, proceeds unabated also. See the Gallery
Page for the latest pictures. The Rogation Walk on 1st May, starting at
the church at 10am (after a peek in the church if you want) will give a
good chance to chat with fellow Upper Saparians. See the latest Flyer
(link above) for other informaton.
- April 7th 2016: Real progress is evident now. Scaffolding has just
gone up outside around the tower; the accessible wc room inside the
tower is taking shape; scaffolding inside the church is ready for the
"big lift" of the I-beam that will be above the new glazed screen to the
Friendship Room; work on the collapsed floor continues further down the
church. Of course, all this work means some BIG BILLS are coming in
now, and fund-raising is by no means complete: we are making efforts to
reclaim VAT on the eligible parts of the work, and our Saturday
coffee-mornings (11am to noon in someone's home - look out for signs)
are popular and raise some welcome donations.
- March 14th 2016: Building & Repair work progresses apace. See the Picture Gallery page.
Funds have been boosted yet again, by the Lent Lunch on Wednesday 11th
March (£85) and a grant from the Addenbrooke, Nash & Winnington
Combined Charity. There's still a long way to go, of course, both with
the repairs and the fund-raising. The April church service is on 10th
April, and will be lay-led Matins at Brook House, 11am. Many thanks to
- 7th March 2016: Well - Christmas has come and gone - what a turnout at
Church on Christmas Day! - and the building & repair work has
started. Visit the Picture Gallery
page to get an idea of the upheaval that is happening, and keep
checking the latest Newsletters & Flyers (see the list above) for
our communications with the local community. We are all quite excited
now, and very much look forward to completion - and raising enough funds
to do all the finishing touches that make such a difference. The church
is now "out of bounds" for about eight months - i.e. until the end of
October 2016 we think. Monthly services are being held nearby - look out
for signs. Our Easter Day service will be at Tedstone Delamere church
(HR7 4PS) at 11am, joining with their regular congregation. We hope to
see you there.
- December 2015: Wow - what a weekend we had 12th & 13th December,
with our Christmas Fair on the Saturday, raising £620 in spite of the
miserable weather, and a nice turnout for the Carol Service on Sunday
morning. The locally-raised amount since 1st September has now passed
the £2,000 mark - see the updated thermometer at the left side of this
page. There is more good financial news, too, in that Her Majesty's
Revenue & Customs has refunded about £5,000 on the Gift-Aided
donations made before April 5th this year - how kind of them! And how
kind of you who are able and willing to Gift Aid your donations.
Gift-Aiding means we get an extra 25% on top of your donations made out
of taxed income, so it's well worth doing if you can.
The new plan-view picture above shows the overall progress of the Appeal
in an alternative format. What we need is all the blue gone, and red
everywhere. Please note the position of the coloured squares is NOT
HAPPY CHRISTMAS to all Church Rescue supporters, and many thanks for all
your support over the course of 2015. We are looking forward to even
more of the same in 2016, and the start of building works before the
- November 2015: Another good turnout at church - this time for the Remembrance Service
on Remembrance Sunday - the first such service at Upper Sapey for many
years. An amazing £68 was raised by the retiring collection for the
Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
The Local Appeal seems to have stuck at about £1,500 - so there's
quite a way to go to raise the £20,000 we need to raise locally. A
little is coming in each week at the Saturday coffee mornings, and the
Christmas Fair will help, of course, but we do hope more Upper Sapey
folk will see the merit of what is planned for the church - repairs to
see it survive for the decades to come, and a most attractive and useful
Friendship Room inside the church - and want to support it
generously. The Friendship Room will provide a warm and comfortable
environment for all manner of activities for the local community, but
especially support groups for the anxious, lonely, troubled and
distressed in our community. Our project manager David Roberts continues
to work tirelessly dealing with the project plans, ongoing appeal
requests, and a host of day-to-day activities. David and Heather deserve
our sincere thanks for their dedication to this work.
Carol Concert by Bromyard Choral Society in aid of Upper Sapey and Whitbourne churches (50:50 split). This is on TUESDAY 1st December at Whitbourne Church, starting at 7.30pm. Admission is FREE, but there will be a retiring collection.
Christmas Fair details
have been sorted. It will be on Saturday 12th December at Upper Sapey
Church, from 11am to 1pm - no entry before 11am please so the organisers
can prepare properly! We plan to have LOTS to interest you: *
Tombola * Raffle * Crafts by Sandy * Sylvia’s Sweets * Candles &
Jewellery * Cakes * Cards * Decorations * Silent Auction * Craft bags *
Mince pies * Mulled wine * Children's corner * and maybe even more! How could you bear to miss it.
- October 2015: Well, we have not been idle, notwithstanding the summer break many of us have had.
There was a good turnout for the Patronal Festival/Appeal Launch service
on 27th September. Click HERE for some pctures. It was nerve-racking for the lay leader (John Bland)
but it all went off without a hitch. The decision to have a
non-communion service on this occasion seemed to help, in that there
were one or two who would not have come otherwise.
The main tender quotations have now been received, and are being
critically assessed by our architects and project leader. More news will
be posted here when appropriate.
Some useful local donations have come in recently - about £1500 plus an
unexpected grant of £15,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation! There
is still a very long way to go, of course, and we really need the local
community to make the £1,500 up to £20,000 in order to prove to our
major grant bodies that the community supports this project. Keep an eye
on the smart new road-sign (see above) for the latest messages
about the Appeal and church services.
The Saturday coffee mornings have continued unbroken - just! - and
continue to provide a relaxed opportunity for team members and
other interested parties to catch up. If YOU would like to host one some
time, please offer - it's sometimes hard to keep this going when we all
have other responsibilities etc. that get in the way of this most
- August 2015: Much has been going on since the last update. Appeals
for grants, site visits, architects drawings etc. have kept us busy. And of course, the Saturday Coffee Mornings have continued without a break!
We are now building up to the launch of the appeal to local residents -
that is, to those who stand to benefit most from the project. This will
happen formally on Sunday 27th September,
at the Upper Sapey Patronal Festival service at 10am. This will be a
non-communion service to which everyone is welcome - indeed, encouraged -
to come! The Appeal Brochure is being delivered to Upper Sapey
residents during September before the big day. You can follow the link
above, too, to an on-line version of it. Please put 27th September in your diary NOW, and make every effort to join us!
- June 2015: A super day was had by all who attended the Tea Party (mini Fȇte) on
6th June. Even though this was mainly an event to celebrate the
awarding of a significant Heritage Lottery Fund grant, an amazing £343
was raised from the contributions for tea & cakes, bookstall,
raffle, tombola etc. Many people put in long hard hours to make the
event the success it was, and the whole community's thanks are due to
them for their efforts, and faith that the event was worth doing. It
- A very useful Investigations Day was held on 2nd June 2015. They
went down in the boiler room; they went up the spire; they looked at our
carvings in minute detail. They were looking for potential problems, the best way to tackle
existing ones, asbestos and other nasties. Bat investigations come later
in the month. We don’t know yet what they found. Watch this space! Click HERE for some "action shots" of what happened. We await the reports.
- Plans proceed apace! We are about to make a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT about
our application for a major grant towards the work. Full details will be
announced at the Tea Party on 6th June, from 2-4pm at the church. Click HERE for the poster advertising the event. DO PLEASE COME!
- The Lent Lunch at Redlands, Upper Sapey on 25th March 2015 raised over £100 for
the Olly Roberts Charitable Trust, the inspiration behind the planned
Friendship Room. Follow this link at thre left for more information about the Trust.
- A new Newsletter now out - follow the link at the left.
- Songs of Praise was a great success on 30th November, although there
were notable absences due to sickness, and Upper Sapey's Carol Service
was held on 14th December. Both were ably accompanied by Maggie Everett. Our next service is on Christmas Day at 9.30 am - note the earlier time!
Newsletter Number 2 is now out - follow the link at the left. It
includes items on Coffee Mornings, Songs of Praise (with picture), Lay
Teams, Money, the recent Diocesan Advisory Committee visit, our Heritage
Lottery Fund application, Lent Lunches 2015, and Items for Discussion
at our next meeting.
- Coffee mornings are continuing on Saturdays from 11am, with a "faithful few" coming along. We would love to see more, of course! They are very relaxed
occasions, and such good opportunities to "catch up" with each other.
Coffee/tea and biscuits are free, but donations are always welcome.
- Another successful Coffee Morning on 18th October: Eight of us
gathered for informal coffee/tea and chat. Isn't it good to have this
opportunity on a weekly basis? There is NO CHARGE, although donations to
the project are of course always welcome. In fact, the bank balance
increased by another £20 today. There are gaps in the Coffee Rota - see
the list on the table in church and linked on the left of this page. If
you would like to host it from time to time, just add your name to the
list and let me (John Bland - webmaster and project treasurer) know.
Most of the equipment is left in church ready, you just need to bring
consumables (water, tea/coffee, milk, sugar, and maybe even some
biscuits!) and set things out ready for 11am start.
- Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) update:
On 17th October Stephen Challenger wrote to Brenda Allan:
DAC met on 15th October to review the interim proposals for re
ordering at the west end, and I now set out its advice:
principle of what is proposed is of course fully supported and the DAC feels
that the west end of the nave is really the only location for the facilities.
There was a little unease however about the scale of the “box” and the effect
it may have upon the significant Norman arch into the tower. The reasons for
having a separately heatable “room” within the church were well explained when
we made a site visit and, again, the principle of this is accepted. The
main concern was that by having a strong horizontal division (because of the
need to have a ceiling) there was architectural competition with the main
curved west end (especially in the form of the window and arch.)
problem with looking at proposals from drawings is that it is not easy to
assess the impact this will have whilst actually in the building; it is
perfectly possible that the scale and portion will be absolutely fine, so to
make a better assessment the DAC would like to make another site visit as soon
as possible. Sophie will liaise with the DAC to check availability and will
come back to you with a proposed date shortly.
am sure agreement on the proposals can be achieved through further discussion,
so that together we can feel confident that the design is right for this
We can nevertheless go ahead with the HLF application
The Community Day (aka Working Party!) on
Saturday 11th October, to help do work in the churchyard, started 9.00am
and lovely cakes and tea/coffee were available all morning:
A lot was achieved and more graves
cleared. Many thanks to all workers, and to Carol for the cakes.
Did anybody count heads? I think I counted around 15
while I was there.
This idyllic little country church is in trouble
Even though only a few years ago we said "At the Northern end of the Greater Parish, the church
recently had major surgery, and should stand for at least the rest of
this century as the roof has now been reunited with the walls. A lot of
the original Norman building remains, including some elaborately carved
arches. Our church architect says this is the best of our churches!" it is now clear that:
- The masonry is in a dreadful state.
- The boiler room, beneath the nave, needs repair – the nave floor
is threatening to sink into it. These two photos show
some of the problems.
- The spire, porch, nave floor and a lot of the masonry all need repair.
Upper Sapey Church is in trouble.
Faced with a repair bill of over £150,000, the church is in danger of
collapse. We want to get funding for repairs,
installation of basic facilities, and turn the West end of the
church into a social area.
Regular Coffee Mornings!
There are now WEEKLY coffee mornings at the church – on Saturdays, 11am to noon, to
- meet with friends for chat
- make some new friends!
- get updates on development plans
- discuss new uses for the church
- maybe offer to do something practical to help.
See the latest for progress on the rescue of this church. Just follow the link at the left of this page.
Please send comments, suggestions, contributions
etc. to John
Bland Tel: 01886 853 661
Together we can make this an increasingly useful
and valuable resource.
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