St. Mary's Church, Woodbridge
"We are here for the glory of God; to be the body of Christ, broken and restored to reflect the Gospel in our lives."
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Launch of Friends

On a damp and foggy evening in late January an enthusiastic group of supporters gathered in Woodbridge for the launch of The Friends of St Mary’s Church. The Friends is being set up to raise funds for the restoration, preservation and improvement of St Mary’s Church and churchyard. Locals and visitors to the market town in recent months will have seen the magnificent tower of the Parish Church encased in scaffolding – restoration work has been going on for more than six months on the crumbling tower.

The 33m (108ft) tower of St Mary’s Parish Church is an amazing piece of design, craftsmanship and structural engineering and is one of the finest flint towers in England. Built by hand between 1448 and 1463, it is the church’s crowning glory and a loved landmark in the town for 550 years. As the Rector, Revd Canon Kevan McCormack, pointed out to the meeting, St Mary’s Church is part of the local landscape and local history. We are all custodians of this heritage, and the Church belongs to the local community. It is not just a place where a few hundred people worship each week, but is open 365 days a year for everyone. It is also used for concerts, talks, exhibitions, drama and civic and school events as well as weddings, baptisms and funerals. It is a place of beauty and tranquillity, available for all to use for a quiet moment in a busy world, or to enjoy the art and architecture, or simply to breath in the long history and experience the peaceful atmosphere.

Phase 1 of the present restoration work is almost completed – the ugly scaffolding is being dismantled at last. It is hoped to start on Phase 2 of the work in the Spring – and in the meantime the Friends will be working hard to raise the remaining funds needed to cover this work. £133,000 has already been collected of the £177,000 needed for this project! At this first meeting of the Friends a Committee of volunteers, made up of a cross section of townsfolk, was appointed to organize the fundraising. To become a Friend of St Mary’s you can go to the website at www.friends.stmaryswoodbridge.org and help save one of Suffolk’s finest medieval buildings!

The new Friends Committee
Some of the members of the committee of the newly formed Friends of St Mary’s Woodbridge with the Rector, Revd Canon Kevan McCormack and the display board about the Tower restoration.
From l to r: Dr James Harper, Tony Sprake, Jane Guy, Rosemary Scott, the Rector, Angela Davison, Sandy Liddell, Nick Cottam