Cherishing the past, Celebrating the present, Relishing the future
ST HELEN'S CHURCH TRICENTENARY APPEAL
Our Tricentenary Appeal objectives have now been realised.
A very big THANK YOU to everyone who helped in any way.
We couldn’t have done it without you.
Our Tricentenary Appeal was launched on 1st June 2017 with a performance by the The Phoenix Choir.
Our aim was to raise some £89,500 to install a toilet, a kitchen facility to make and serve light refreshments, lighting from the lychgate and car park to the church, and improved access for wheelchair users.
Donations were received, fundraising events held and grants secured that together enabled work to commence towards the end of 2020.
As the work progressed it became apparent that the timbers supporting the pew floors in the nave were rotting as a result of inadequate ventilation. An emergency appeal was launched for an additional £15,000 to enable this flooring to be replaced by breathable limecrete overlaid with stone slabs in keeping with the remainder of the nave.
On completion of all the work, a band of willing volunteers set about redecorating the church in time for the first wedding there since lockdown on 14th August 2021.
Please click here for photographs of the refurbished church immediately prior to this wedding.
A formal service of reopening followed on Sunday 29th August 2021, with a celebratory performance by Quatrapuntal the previous afternoon.
With our Tricentenary Appeal objectives realised, our attention has turned to fundraising in support of more general church maintenance and refurbishment. Priority items include repairs to the heating system and the refurbishment of the vestry.
Please click on the button below if you would like to make a secure online payment to St Helen's in support of this work.
Below is the Tricentenary Appeal page as it appeared during the closing stages of our Appeal.
Aerial View of St Helen's Church
Bird's Eye Video of
St Helen's Churchyard
Please click on the above image to start the video
and on the button at the bottom right to view in full screen mode.
In 1717 work began on building a new church for the people of St Helens Parish and its visitors – following the collapse of the old St Helen’s ‘Duver Church’ into the sea!
Three-hundred years later, in 2017, we began our Tricentenary Appeal. Our aim is to provide St Helens residents, churchgoers, visitors and pilgrims with an enhanced historic building that is a focus of community whilst continuing to be an active welcoming church, and a resource of peace and comfort available to all.
New toilet in scale model showing how St Helen's will look on completion of the project.
The Tricentenary Appeal began in June 2017 and is focused on the need to provide:
- A toilet facility
- Better access for wheelchair users
- Reclaimed flag-flooring for the baptistry and welcome area (to match with older flooring in the Nave and Transepts)
- A sink-unit and facilities to make/serve light refreshments in the welcome area
- Safer access to the gallery choir-vestry and organ loft, along with a small store room
- Lighting from the church to the car park and lychgate
New stairs to gallery in model
Why do we want to do all this?
- Our existing staircase needs to be replaced as it is becoming unsafe.
- We need to install a toilet - the nearest convenience is far from convenient being quite a trek, on stepping stones, through the churchyard to the wooden office building located opposite the vicarage. A long journey if you are a youngster, pregnant, elderly, unsteady on your feet or just desperate! Numerous social events have highlighted the problem.
- When coffee is served after church, water for the urn has to be fetched from the vestry or an outside tap and, at the end, washing up becomes an onerous task balancing a bowl on a table behind the font.
- Emptying the urn can be quite a dangerous operation, as boiling water has to be removed in jugs.
- Washing up bowls have to be carried outside to be emptied in the drain. Health and Safety risks that cannot continue!
- When we have events of any description on at the church in the darker evenings - concerts, Midnight Mass, All Souls services etc - we have to provide torches, or some sort of make shift lighting, to enable people to walk to the church from the car park or the lychgate, Many people will not attend our events because they do not like walking along the gravel path in the churchyard in the dark and do not like the thought of having to walk over the stepping stones in the dark to access the toilet. Even the choir do not hold choir practice in the church during the winter months for that very reason.
- We have no storage facilities. The inclusion of a small storage cupboard will tidy the church and give a better impression of a peaceful and beautiful place to worship.
- By moving the font, we are including the people who sit in the transepts in the baptism service - whereas at present they cannot see.
The total amount required to complete the project is circa £90,000.
At the heart of the Tricentenary Appeal, are our values of cherishing the past, celebrating the present, relishing the future.
In this way, we hope to ensure the future of St Helens Parish Church, and to prevent the decline and collapse experienced by the old ‘Duver’ church; the tower of which remains by the shore of the Solent, as a call to action!