1. Opening Remarks: Bernadette welcomed all those present, thanked Louise and Seymour for the use of their dining room for the purpose of the meeting, and invited Fr Patrick to open the meeting with a prayer.
2. Apologies for absence: Fr Richard Barton, Robin and Mary Bourne, John Clift , David and Ray Tetlow, Margaret Stephenson, Pam Woodley, Robin & Janet
3. Chairman's Report: Bernadette gave her report (copy attached).
4. Treasurer's Report: Tony Doyle delivered his report (copy attached), and informed the meeting that due to pressure of work, he would not be standing for Treasurer for the coming year. Bernadette thanked Tony for all the work he had done since the inception of The Friends and wished him good luck with his future
ventures. Tony said even though he was resigning his position on the Committee, he wished to remain a Friend
of St Mary's.
5. Election Of Officers:
Chairman: Bernadette informed those present that it had beat her intention (stated at last year's
AGM) to resign her position as Chairman, due to increasing personal responsibilities. However, because no nomination has been put forward, and a suitable replacement had not yet been identified, she would be prepared to continue on an interim basis until such time as a replacement can be found
Nominated -Philippa Hunter. Seconded- Gerry Dudley -carried unanimously.
Vice Chairman: Bernadette informed the meeting that she had persuaded Fr Patrick to
consent to becoming Vice Chairman. Fr Patrick confIrmed his willingness to undertake this task.
Nominated -Bernadette Yarnold. Seconded -Helen Clift.- carried unanimously.
Treasurer: Due to Tony Doyle's resignation as Treasurer, Bernadette had sought a replacement and has secured the services of Robin Bourne, who was unable to attend the meeting, but supplied written confirmation that he was prepared to act as Treasurer.
Nominated -Bernadette Yarnold .Seconded -Tony Doyle -carried unanimously.
Gerry consented to continue in her roll as Secretary .
Nominated -Bernadette Yarnold. Seconded -Peter Baister -carried unanimously.
Other members consented to serve for a further year, and were accepted by those present.
Seymour Aitken, Peter Baister, Helen Clift, Philippa Hunter, Edmund Lee, David Tetlow.
Eddie Condon, a new parishioner was asked and consented to serve on the Committee, with the agreement of all present.
Bernadette asked if anyone else present wished to be elected to the Committee and all declined.
6. Membership: Those present were asked to try to encourage other members of the parish to become
Friends of St Mary's. The finance gained from this source is a valuable contribution to our funds, be it the minimum £5 fee or in some cases considerably more. Last year, membership contributions amounted to £600.
It was suggested that as a membership rally, a short note stating the aims of The Friends, together with an attached membership form, should be included in one of our weekly Sunday bulletins. This was agreed and plans will be made to re-design the membership Form. It was also felt that all members should be given an up to date
copy of the Constitution, which states the aims and aspirations of The Friends.
Fr Patrick suggested that details about St Mary's and The Friends should be circulated through The Historic Churches Association, with the hope that it will raise the profile in the wider community.
Gerry Dudley informed the meeting that in September, a party of top infants and first year junior school children had asked to be allowed to see around St Mary's and the cemetery . Gerry allowed this and gave the children a short talk on some of the history of St Mary's. They enjoyed the talk and apparently used quite a bit of the information gained in the course of their lessons.
Eddie Condon asked why, in an effort to widen the profile of St Mary's, this sort of
activity could not be offered to some of the Catholic Schools in Swindon, who might not be aware of the existence
of St Mary's. This was thought a good idea to be developed.
Seymour Aitken suggested that if we were to attract the wider world, it might be an idea to contact the Archbishop of Bordeaux, who was among the small group of clergy who presented the key to St Mary's to Fr Eamon McGlinchey in 1983. Edmund Lee agreed to look further into this matter.
7. Future Projects: Bernadette reminded those present that our most immediate project is the restoration of the Churchyard Cross. Matters are in hand for this work.
Our second project is to move the Screen on the North aisle of the church to realign it
with the Victorian arch, and at the same time provide disabled access to the Chapel of St Augustine.
A further project, is the re-pointing of the bell tower. This was raised in the
Quinquenniel Report, and is essential for technical as well as aesthetic reasons. The problem arises because some time in the recent past, the tower was re-pointed with the wrong type of mortar which now has to be removed and replaced with the correct material. We hope to be supported by grants for this project, but for all these projects, we will need to show commitment by fundraising.
Due to the removal of various conifers in the cemetery, we are faced with a rather
unkempt, open and vulnerable boundary. It was proposed that, providing the Council have no objection, a project to tidy up the boundaries might be undertaken on a voluntary basis. It was suggested that a working party might be mustered and the edges of the cemetery be tidied up. Shrubs might then be planted to soften the aspect and eventually provide a variety
of foliage to be used for flower arranging purposes. This was generally
accepted and plans will be made at the next committee meeting. Edmund Lee informed the meeting that the Town Council had given verbal consent to this, But that it should be put in writing.
Louise Aitken suggested that advice from the Gardening Club might be useful, and Helen Lee thought it might be a good idea to get the Jubilee Project at Purton involved. Philippa Hunter suggested a garden centre
of her acquaintance where we might obtain shrubs at cost price which might save a considerable amount of money.
Drawing on the Quinquennial Report. Bernadette informed the meeting that annual inspection of the building was recommended in order to pre-empt any major work that is necessary. Bernadette stated that
Edmund Lee has agreed to carry out the inspection, and it was suggested that he might co-opt Morton Outram to assist him.
Edmund requested a copy of the Quinquenniel report as a basis for this inspection.
8. Fundraising: Bernadette asked if there were any suggestions and ideas for fundraising activities for the coming year. The following were
a. A themed lunch (similar to the Italian Evening and Italian Lunch, that we have Organised in the past).
b. A Fete.
c. Coffee mornings
d. Open Days
e. A Flower Festival- Jean Drumm might help us again.
Eddie Condon's wife, Linda, has a connection with Wroughton Floral Art Society and might be able to help.
A possible theme for the Flower Festival would be The Blessed Virgin Mary and related flowers, icons etc.
All these ideas will be discussed further at the next Committee meeting.
9. Any Other Business: Bernadette went around the table to ask for any comments. Gerry Dudley
mentioned the logs which were in the undergrowth at the edge of the graveyard. These had been left after the conifers had been removed. Helen and Edmund, together with Pat Charlton
stated that they had observed them being removed after weekday Mass. Gerry Dudley will enquire at the Council office.
I made enquiries and found that the Council workmen had removed these because they were getting in the way of the cemetery maintenance.
The matter of the wooden fence posts erected by our neighbour at Lamas House
was raised. Fr Patrick explained that after Manus Moran had written to the owner who had erected this fencing without permission. He received a less than co-operative reply. Manus had then made enquiries at The Clifton Diocese offices and Laurence Payne had written to the Bristol Diocesan office since they are the owners of the land, to inform them of this matter. So far, the Bristol Diocese has not replied with any details
of future action. Fr Patrick agreed to write to the Diocese of Bristol to enquire whether the Diocese plans to pursue the matter.
Helen Lee suggested that postcards of St Mary's might be sold to raise money. Further enquiries are to be made.
The next Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, 18th January. Venue and time to be arranged.