Friends of St Mary’s Church
Charity No 1051322
Dominating the High Street, St Mary’s is a very significant building in the topography of the commercial centre of Haverfordwest. One of the major aims of the Friends is to encourage those who have an interest in the building from an historic, architectural or commercial aspect to work together with those whose interests are in preserving it as an important place of worship to ensure that it faces a new century in a sound structural condition to be appreciated by future generations.
The Annual General Meeting is normally held in October when members elect the Executive Committee of seven members. ‘Friends’ will receive the biannual newsletter which is published each summer and winter. An Annual Luncheon is also arranged and has proved to be a very successful occasion. Other events are arranged whenever possible.
Since our first Annual Lunch in 1998 we have been fortunate to have eminent speakers as Principal Guests starting with our first Patron, Bishop J Ivor Rees in 1998, followed by his successors, in 2000 Bishop D Huw Jones; Bishop Carl Cooper in 2003 and in 2010 Bishop J Wyn Evans, well remembered as Dean of St David’s Cathedral.
Appropriately, in 2012, local boy Dick Palmer CBE, Executive Vice President of the British Olympic Association was our guest speaker and met old friends from days in the Haverfordwest Grammar School. In 2013, Rt Rev Dr John Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln 2002 – 2011, now living in Haverfordwest joined us as guest speaker. A former High Court Judge and Lord Justice of Appeal with local connections, Sir John Roch PC, was our guest speaker in 2014.
The responsibility for maintaining the fabric of this beautiful 800 year old church is a duty which stretches to the limit the resources of those who worship here. In spite of generous grants, there is always more work to do than there are the means to meet it. During 1960-1990 over £130,000 was raised and spent on the building and more work still needs to be done in order to arrest the slow decline in the condition of the fabric.
In 1993 a group of people met who were willing to lend their support to the existing efforts of the Parochial Church Council and congregation of St Mary’s to preserve for future generations this Grade 1 Listed Church which has served the town of Haverfordwest and the county of Pembroke throughout its long life. Indeed, it’s history and that of the Town and County of Haverfordwest go hand in hand and it would be an irretrievable loss for town and county if St Mary’s should fall into disrepair. To raise money to support the repair and maintenance of the building is one of the aims of the FRIENDS but it is not our sole purpose.
Having achieved charitable status, the first AGM was held on 31st January 1996 when the Constitution was adopted and the first full Executive Committee elected.
* To educate the public and to mobilise, encourage, foster and maintain the interest and support of the public in St Mary’s Church.
* To publish papers, books, periodicals, reports and other documents.
* To hold meetings, lectures, exhibitions and discussions.
* To raise funds and to invite and receive contributions from any person, persons or organisations
We can continue to provide for the maintenance of the Church only by generous donations and support of The Friends and friends.
From 1999 to 2008 we donated £13,075.00 towards the Church expenses.
During 2009 we provided £7,044.18:-
the Church Guide (see below) (£1,643.20),
Staging – most useful for concerts and recitals(£4,739.73)
A pair of galvanised+powder coated gates at the entrance to the belltower (£661.25).
During 2010 we provided £1,310.13 for additional handrails for the staging (£840.13) and a new lawnmower (£470.00)
2011 provided £1,242.80 for the new church sign (£952.80), a donation towards enhancement work on the cremated remains area by the north porch(£250), and the cost of hosting the website(£40).
2012 for £90 saw the Vicar’s name carved on the list of clergy board (£50) and the cost of the annual website and domain hosting (£40).
During 2013 we gave £2,375.00 towards the Heating Appeal (£2,000), a further donation to the cremated remains garden (£300), and annual website and domain hosting (£40) and membership of PAVS (£35).
In total the Friends have contributed £25,137.11
Patron – The Bishop of St Davids
Mr Roy Folland Chair
Mr Paul Lucas JP FRICS Vice Chair
Mr Derek Rees Secretary
Mr John Warren Treasurer
Fr Nicholas Cale Vicar, Ex officio
The Mayor Ex officio
Mrs Wendy Hawker
Mrs Gaynor Price
Mrs Hazel Quant
Mrs Gill White
This Committee, like the membership of the Friends, is very cosmopolitan! We are members of several chapels and churches other than St Mary’s but with one common aim, to work for the preservation of this ancient building.
A Guide to St Mary’s Church was published by The Friends in 2009. The booklet consists of 60 pages with almost 80 photographs and provides a history of the church and a guide to the features which make St Mary’s one of the most important parish churches in Wales.
The guide costs £2.50. Copies are available in the church, or by post from Pat Barker, 78 Kensington Gardens, Haverfordwest, SA61 2SF. Please enclose a cheque for £3.50 (includes postage and packing) made to The Friends of St Mary’s.
Other projects funded by the Friends can be seen under our ‘Aims’, (above).
To help us achieve our aims, will YOU become a FRIEND OF ST MARY’S? Please contact the Membership Secretary:- John Warren, Dreenhill Farm, Dale Road, Haverfordwest, SA62 3XG, (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will acknowledge your membership and from whom further information can be obtained.