Taste of France to boost church

THE unmistakable taste of France will tempt people to Litcham this weekend as a recently-formed group continues its efforts to get the village ticking again.

THE unmistakable taste of France will tempt people to Litcham this weekend as a recently-formed group continues its efforts to get the village ticking again.

The Friends of All Saints' charity was launched just before Christmas to help care for the parish church.

A leading light in its foundation has been Kerry Walpole, who moved to Litcham's Old Rectory from Bishop's Stortford two years ago with his French wife Helene and their young sons William and Frederic. And on Saturday, their home, in Mileham Road, will be the setting for an afternoon of French wine-tasting, accompanied by canap�s. There will be live music from the Bewick String Quartet.

Kerry, whose background is in marketing, is interested in old buildings and clocks in particular. The family was anxious, too, to immerse itself in community life when it arrived. The result was the creation of the Friends group, which charges �15 a year subscription and has built up a membership of about 70 already.


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The organisation is run separ-ately from the parochial church council but aims to work with it, and with Litcham Parish Council, for the good of the church, a largely perpendicular building with noteworthy 15th-century screen.

Kerry said: 'We wanted to try to set a charity up to contribute to the fabric of the building so that people who are non-regular churchgoers can play a part in its upkeep.

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'My family came to Litcham because it is gorgeous and has still got village amenities. I'm pleased with the response to the Friends idea. It has been excellent, bearing in mind the present financial situation.'

Lately, the Friends have been busy raising �7,500 to help get the clock on the landmark 17th century brick tower ticking again after a break of several months.

They hope to have the mechanism, dated 1725 and made by Morris, of Swaffham, working and chiming again by the end of the summer and are commissioning two new dials, crafted by Norwich clock expert Simon Michlmayr, for installation by the end of the year.

One of the old dials fell from the tower a while ago.

Kerry said: 'We wanted to try something a little different in terms of fundraising, and we are going to have a rather old-fashioned garden party feel to the afternoon.'

The event runs from 3.30pm to 6pm. Tickets are available in advance only at �15. Call Kerry Walpole on 01328 700161 or e-mail friendsofallsaints@hotmail.co.uk. You can also contact him to find out more about how to become a Friend.

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