By Sue Young

Helpston Editor


Tribune readers keeping an eye out for the date of Helpston’s Church Gala this year were saddened to learn that there just wasn’t going to be one. 

“We couldn’t believe it’” said one young lady.  “We loved walking around the stalls, picking up bargains and playing all those old-fashioned games. It is a story of church people getting tired, too few carrying too much responsibility, and not finding enough people to help get the project off the ground – an event which had been running since the eighties, when an urgent building restoration was needed. Good News at last, everyone, because spurred on by comments from the public and Helpston Parish Council, a group of enthusiastic and energetic people have come together with Vicar, Dave Maylor and St Botolph’s Gala Committee and plans are afoot for a 2016 Gala which will be bigger and better than in previous years with lots of new attractions as well as all the usual well-loved stalls and games.

At a meeting in mid-October it was decided that the Gala should take place on Saturday 11th June from 12 noon until 4pm.  Village organisations are invited to take a part and will then receive a proportion of the funds raised.  St Botolph’s is an ancient building with costly upkeep.  While congregations are building, thanks to the leadership of Rev Dave Maylor and his wife, Kim, there are many people who visit it rarely, but, nevertheless appreciate the building and find that when there is a wedding, baptism or funeral in the family, they are glad it’s still standing.  Our churches throughout Tribuneland, with their spires and churchyards with graves of generations of local families provide a link with the past and the spiritual.  Their very size and centrality within their villages cries out that they refuse to be ignored.  Therefore in order to maintain them, fundraising needs to be regular so that when the roofs leak or rot begins in beams there is a ‘cushion’ of money to be used quickly, saving a panicky response. Funds raised at the 2016 Gala will be allocated by allowing 50% for the church building fund, 40% for local charities and 10% for overseas charities.

Even better news is that with the support of those who generously open their beautiful gardens to the public, next year’s event will span the whole weekend with the Gala on the Saturday and Helpston Open Gardens on the Sunday with added attractions. If you are a representative of a village organisation and would like to get involved please contact Rev Dave Maylor on 01780 740234. Watch the Village Tribune for further updates on the Gala.

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