Norfolk church rolls back clock to raise funds
By Tony Mallion
church has rolled back the clock by half a century to use a fund raising method which worked then – and is working again now.
St Mary Magdalene Parish Church celebrated its 50th birthday last year. When the church was built on the town’s new Magdalen Estate an appeal was made to parishioners to contribute donations of a shilling (five pence) a week to help complete it. The money came in.
Now the current vicar, Linda Ricketts, decided to try that method again, although allowing for inflation she invited one-off donations of a pound or more. Already in the last three weeks over £700 has come in.
The Vicar said people really felt it was a church for the community when they gave towards its building in the mid ‘fifties. “And they still feel it is” she said. The church organises Christmas day lunches for the elderly and lonely and is also known for the bangers and mash supper it provides on Halloween for elderly people who are fearful of being alone. Volunteer workers are currently being trained for a new drop-in centre which will open in September and the premises are also used by a number of organisations, including the 2nd Gorleston Scouts.
The Scouts have helped distribute Linda Ricketts’ appeal letter to the parish, which stretches from the Magdalen Arms in the north to Beacon Park in the south. The first delivery went to a thousand homes with the next batch due to go out at the beginning of May.
In the letter the Vicar explains that, after 50 years, a number of major repairs are needed, particularly to the electrics and flat roofs. While they are applying for grants she explains its not always easy to get them for what’s regarded as a relatively new building. Which is why she’s turned to the parishioners to help out.
“People have just been so positive. The feedback has been so good. People have said ‘you were there when we needed you’ and they’ve given us their coppers.
“One lady in a wheelchair couldn’t make it to the open morning we had at the church so she came to the vicarage instead because she was so keen to make a donation.
“People think the church isn’t relevant to people any more – but clearly it is,” said the Rev Ricketts.
Pictured above is Rev Linda Ricketts with the letter and a £1 donation.