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 Fundraising Events



The concert hosted by The Friends of St Mary’s was held on behalf of the Canterbury Singers to celebrate our own Chris Godfrey’s 50 years of singing with the choir. The Friends’ provided refreshments of tea, coffee and cakes – generously made by members and held a very well-supported raffle.  a keen member of the Freetown Choral Society in Sierra Leone and since moving to Chilham he joined the Church bell ringers, where he is still a very active ringer, sung with the Church choir, the Community Choir, as well as the Canterbury Singers. He is an active supporter of many village causes together with his wife Janet, and is delighted everyone so enjoyed the concert.
Thank you to everyone who contributed so generously, and traveled from so far away to attend.


Harvest Supper

Friends of St Mary’s Church Chilham Harvest Supper 12th October. A HUGE thank you to Judith & Pasquale Rosato, who kindly opened their home on Friday evening to host a  very enjoyable and successful sell-out Harvest Supper.
In lovely surroundings and with help from Janet Godfrey, 40 Friends of St Mary’s Church and guests enjoyed a convivial meal cooked by Judith, Janet & Jane Garrett, and lovely puddings kindly made by Rosemary Simmons. Wine was provided by George Kennedy and Richard Armishaw.
Thanks to the generosity of those present,  the raffle raised £325, and the total raised for the evening was £1145. A considerable sum which is a great boost to The Friends’ funds. 
We also gained new Friends boosting our membership.  A great evening, much enjoyed by all.

Woman with Bible

Garden Party at

Deepwell House

The Friends held a Garden Party on a very warm and sunny 14th July 2018 at the kind invitation of Chairman George Kennedy and his wife Christine who opened their lovely garden for the afternoon.  Many Friends came along to enjoy the surroundings and refreshments on offer, and entertainment provided by Old Wives Lees Community choir.  A raffle raised £78 and, donations towards The Friends fund raised £495.20.  Money raised by the Friends goes towards helping to keep the fabric of St Mary’s Chilham in good order so the historic building can continue to be enjoyed and appreciated by all.  A big thank you to George and Christine for providing a lovely backdrop to the day and to everyone who helped to make the afternoon a success. 

Church Interior

BBC Emma

filmed in Chilham square

Principal photography commenced with a four-day shoot in the Kent village of Chilham from 14 to 18 April 2009. Production design staff covered several roads with gravel to disguise the 21st-century road markings, and erected a fountain in the village square.[2] Filming occurred from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day and was scheduled to coincide with the Easter school holiday to minimise local disruption.

Children Praying

World War I Centenary Commemoration

The War Memorial in the churchyard is dedicated to local men who lost their lives to World War 1 many of whom are buried here.
The Chilham Remembrance Society has been running a commemoration project by commissioning plaques to be placed onto the houses where they are known to have lived in the Parish of Chilham which includes the villages of Shottenden and Old Wives Lees.
In tandem with this for the centenary, since 2014 the church has been remembering each man on the date of their death during the Great War by placing at the memorial a cross with a poppy and an explanatory text and photograph (where available) and holding prayers in their memory – They will not be forgotten.
On 4th July 2018 a full dedication of a plaque for Sgt John (known as Jack) Waghorn was held.  He died in active service aged 22 on 4th July 1918 in Palestine (now Israel) where he is buried in Ramley Cemetery.  Jack had lived at Cork Farm in Old Wives Lees where he worked as the Farm Bailiff.  The current owner, Andy Maclean, with the support of Reader, Gerry Willis who read prayers and her husband, Churchwarden John Willis who provided background on Sgt Waghorn, held a brief remembrance service at the memorial where the two gentlemen in the photograph opposite bugled Reveille and The Last Post.  The plaque was then dedicated at Cork Farm where it hangs on the farm gate for all passing by to read. It was a touching ceremony made even more poignant with the playing of The Last Post.
As the photo shows, it was a beautiful sunny day and the buglers, resplendent in their uniforms are enjoying a pre-ceremony coffee in the church porch.  Coffee and cakes are served in the church porch every week day throughout Summer by volunteers, some of whom are Friends, but all want to help raise funds for the church.  If you are in Chilham come and join us for coffee!

Chilham Ringers’ Day Outing

On Sunday 8th July 2018 ten ringers set out after service ringing at Chartham, then rang as usual for the Chilham Breakfast Service before heading south to ring the light six bells of Waltham.   Next were the fine eight bells where the most challenging method was rung for Charles Blummers who is ringing quite advanced stuff with the Bristol University Association; we hope our other young ringers have similar opportunities when going to university in a year or so.


At this stage it’s appropriate to renew our appeal previously made in the Parish News for new aspiring ringers to start learning by the autumn, especially as there will be bell ringing countrywide on 11th November to mark the 1918 Armistice 100 years on.   There will be ringing demonstrations during the Bank Holiday Monday’s Church Open Day on 27th August.   Better still, come up the tower between 7.30 & 9.00 pm on any Wednesday to see us ringing all eight bells.


Next was a hearty pre-booked carvery pub lunch in Monks Horton before continuing to Lympne where we were met by Brian Butcher, the Diocesan bell advisor who was instrumental in locating, & then with a team of five helpers & Philip Bedford removed our cracked tenor bell and installed the exchanged bell all in just three days. It is perfectly in tune with the other seven, & easier to ring too.


Finally on to Romney Marsh to ring the heavyish eight bells at New Romney, confusingly hung in an anticlockwise circle which takes a bit of getting used to.   Lastly we rang for Evensong on the six bells at Brookland which uniquely has a detached conical wooden tower with oak beams all around & no ceiling to muffle the sound.   It had been a good but very hot day & by the end we were flagging a bit!

Chris Godfrey

Revival of the Friends

By Jan Armishaw, Secretary

In March 2017 the PCC for St Mary’s hosted a concert in the Church with The Snowdown Colliery Welfare Male Voice Choir.  To help raise funds I organised a raffle and I was delighted with the generosity of the community of Chilham Parish residents and their donations to the raffle. This gave me the idea of reviving the Friends of St Mary’s which had been dormant for about 15 years or so.
I approached a well-known local personality, George Kennedy C.B.E. with the idea and he immediately gave his full support.  We advertised the initiative in the Chilham Parish magazine and 14 people met with us in June at the White Horse Public House to hear what we had to say, and all expressed their interest and support for the revival.  In October, we formed a committee with George Kennedy agreeing to be our Chairman.  
To get us started, Antony Swain, Manager of Bagham Barn Antiques in Chilham very kindly offered to host a tea party there.  Many came, and Antony and Peggy generously donated all the profits made that day to the new Friends fund.  

Meanwhile George wrote a letter which was hand delivered to everybody in the community explaining our purpose, namely, the importance of preserving our beautiful historic church; raising money for the upkeep of the fabric of the Church and, giving details about how to become a Friend.  By January 2018 we had nearly 30 members, some giving donations in addition to their Friend membership.

In March we had a second hand delivered leaflet drop making use of Chilham Parish Council volunteer delivery network and we now have a membership of over 50.

This year we have so far held three coffee mornings in the church, January, March, and June which have been happy successful events, raising money by selling home-made cakes; plants; produce and having raffles. Many of the Friends provide the beautiful and tasty cakes and the raffle prizes. At the June coffee morning we were fortunate to have a very interesting display of historic post WW1 Chilham photographs from Friend Robin Eyers and brilliant piano playing by David Jones; a lovely peaceful back-drop.  These events are a good way to link the Church with the Friends.

Our most recent event was a Garden Party in July, kindly hosted by George and Christine Kennedy in their lovely garden.  Friends were generous as ever volunteering help, cakes and produce and donating towards the funds. Local entertainment came from Old Wives Lees Community Choir. A very pleasant afternoon was enjoyed by all and included a further boost in our bank balance.
Such has been the initial financial success of the revival we have been able to give much needed funding of £1744 to St Mary’s PCC to pay for the construction of a new Soakaway to improve drainage to the North side of the Church. If these urgent repairs had been left unattended the fabric of the church would have been seriously compromised.

We have now completed a Gift Aid application with the help of Canterbury Diocese and  the creation of the Friends of St Mary’s Church Chilham web site.  This will help us to reach out to a wider audience nationally and internationally.We will keep you posted !

We have come a long way in a short time and I now feel the revived Friends of St Mary’s is well established.

If you have an intreesting story about St Mary's we would love to hear from you

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