Friends of the Cathedral of the Forest

This page provides a brief update on the work of the Friends of the Cathedral of the Forest

For future events, please see our Calendar of Events


Chairman's Report 2017: 14th AGM of the Friends of the Cathedral of the Forest

Over the past year, the Friends have been continuing with their work fund raising and helping to support the PCC to maintain and care for The Cathedral of the Forest.

We have had another varied year of ‘Tea and Tours’, concerts and plays, both inside and outside the church.  The church has hosted a Nativity Crib Festival, with many cribs donated from schools and groups from around the wider Mid-Wyedean Parish.  The Friends continue to support these events by providing help or refreshments when needed and this magnificent church continues to be used for many different activities amongst the local community in addition to regular worship.

As I reported last year, the PCC was successful with its application to The Heritage Lottery Fund for grant funding to repair the Tower.  There was a slight delay in starting the project, as the contractors were not able to start as soon as expected due to the extensive scaffolding taking rather longer to erect than anticipated!  The repairs have been going well, particularly the removal of all the Buddleia growing out of the pinnacle!  One of our Trustees Laura Stevens has been working on the Community Outreach part of the project, which is part of the criteria required by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  This has included some very popular Tower Tours and Stonemason Master Classes. This work will also include a new guidebook which Laura and Averil Kear have been working on together.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank them both for their work and expertise.  I understand that the scaffolding will start to come down after Easter, when the newly repaired tower will be revealed.   After the completion of this project, we will then be in a position to complete the third phase or re-ordering, which is the meeting room above the lavatories in the tower, dependent upon the appropriate permissions from the Diocese and funding.

As last year, I will bewriting to the village asking for donations towards the cost of grass cutting in the churchyard as this is now underwritten by the Friends. The cost of this is significant as it is a large area and we are enormously grateful for all those who have supported us and continue to do so, helping to maintain the heart of the village.  

Overall funds raised to date, both directly and indirectly, now total £828,012.94.  As with most of the projects carried out in the church some grant applications are made by the PCC and some by the Friends, either directly or on behalf of the PCC.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alison Turner our Treasurer for her work completing forms and assisting the PCC.  The organisations that have generously awarded grants this year are:

  • Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust
  • All Churches Trust
  • Langtree Trust
  • Warneford Trust
  • Joseph Strong Frazer Trust
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the Trustees of the Friends, without whom, none of our achievements would have been possible. Finally, very many thanks to all the members of the Friends for their generosity and continued support and we look forward to another year of progress.


Bea Erskine



A Heartfelt Thank You from the Friends of the Cathedral of the Forest

As part of the ongoing repair works to the All Saints Tower the Friends of the Cathedral of the Forest would like to extend our thanks to all those who have helped replace our worn out rope handrail inside the tower. Special thanks goes to Dave Clare of Gloucester Rope & Tackle Ltd for supplying the materials and to Lieutenant Commander Mike Pritchard (Severn District Officer, Sea Cadets) and Lieutenant Dave Williams (Cheltenham Unit) for giving their time and expertise to install it.  Everyone who has to ascend the tower to wind the clock or ring the bells should feel far more secure now and we are grateful for this well needed improvement.

Traditional Rope Skills & Knot Tying Workshop

This collaboration with the Sea Cadets has been so successful that we are planning to hold a traditional rope skills and knot tying workshop one weekend during the summer.  This will be for all ages so if you are interested in attending or would like more information please contact Laura Stevens on LauraVale@phonecoop.coop.



Chairman’s Report 2016: 13th AGM of the Friends of the Cathedral of the Forest

Over the past year, the Friends have continued with their work fund raising and helping to support the PCC to maintain and care for ‘The Cathedral of the Forest’.

Averil Kear’s tours and teas have once again proved popular and I would like to thank Averil and all those who bake cakes and help to make them such a success. The Friends also assist organisations who host concerts and support the PCC with refreshments and catering – using of course, the wonderful facilities, which are fast becoming the envy of the Deanery!

In December of last year, we had a visit from the new Bishop of Gloucester The Right Revd Rachel Treweek, and in addition a carol service was recorded by BBC Radio Gloucestershire for broadcast on Christmas morning, with the Friends providing refreshments for this very successful evening, with a full church.

I can also report that the PCC have been successful with their grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the urgent repairs to the tower.  This work is due to be undertaken this summer.  Following its completion we will be in a position to complete the third phase of works; a meeting room in the tower.

The friends again wrote to the village asking for donations towards the cost of grass cutting in the churchyard as this is now underwritten by the Friends. The cost of this is significant as it is a large area and we are enormously grateful for all those who have supported us and continue to do so, helping to maintain the heart of the village.

As with most of the projects carried out in the church some grant applications are made by the PCC and some by the Friends, either directly or on behalf of the PCC.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alison Turner our Treasurer for her hard work over the year.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the trustees of the Friends, without whom none of our achievements would have been possible.

After the success of Operation Icarus, led by West Mercia Police, the head of Robert de Wakering was recovered, along with over 80 other artefacts stolen from churches around Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Wales.  The repair work to restore the head to its rightful owner was a joint initiative between Gloucester Cathedral and the diocese.  This work was undertaken by stonemasons and students, overseen by Pascal Mychalysin Head Stonemason at the cathedral.

Finally, very many thanks to all the members of the Friends for their generosity and continued support, in our quest to preserve and enable this glorious church to hold its own in the 21st century.

Bea Erskine


Chairman’s Report: 2015

The head and feet of Robert de Wakering’s effigy were reinstated on the weekend of the 27-29th November 2015. The head of his effigy was stolen from the church in 2012 and was subsequently recovered by West Mercia Police during Operation Icarus.  The reinstatement was a very exciting initiative with the Diocese of Gloucester and Chapter.  The project was arranged and overseen by Pascal Mychalysin the Head Stonemason at Gloucester Cathedral, with the work undertaken by apprentice stone masons under Pascal’s direction.  This work was kindly paid for by the Diocese.

                                                       


Overall the past year has been one of consolidation whilst we await the outcome of the PCC HLF grant application for emergency repairs to the Tower.  When the tower is repaired then we are looking to help the PCC to put in the glass fronted meeting room the lavatories in the tower, which is the third phase of the re-ordering project.

The past year has also seen your committee busy, not only in fund raising and helping the PCC to continue to maintain the church, but also in particular with Averil Kear’s tours and teas, which are gaining quite a reputation and certainly increasing in popularity!  So I would like to thank Averil and all those who bake cakes and help to make them such a success.

In addition I am delighted to be able to report that the Tavern Clock, which your committee was very keen to repair, has been expertly restored to its former glory by Horologist Martin Gatto and is ticking away in the background.

As last year, I have written to the village asking for donations towards the cost of grass cutting in the churchyard as this is now underwritten by the Friends.  It is a large area and we are grateful for all those who have supported us and continue to do so, helping to
maintain the heart of the village. 

Finally, very many thanks to all the members of the Friends for their generosity and continued support, in our quest to preserve and enable this glorious church to hold its own in the 21st century.

Bea Erskine Chairman                                                                                  

                                                                                                    
                                                                                    
New door to the Vestry area now housing the long awaited WC's

New Screen and Door to the Vestry and Toilets