Special service at Norwich Cathedral celebrates Society’s golden jubilee

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A special service to mark the golden jubilee year of the Round Tower Churches Society was held at Norwich Cathedral on Wednesday, February 7.

The Dean, the Very Revd Dr Andrew Braddock welcomed members of the Society and the Lady Dannatt, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk.

Representatives of four “sister” church heritage charities in Norfolk and Suffolk attended the service of Festal Evensong. The Norfolk Churches Trust, the Norwich Historic Churches Trust, Churches Conservation Trust and the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust all attended the Festal Evensong.

It commemorated the Golden Jubilee of the Round Tower Churches Society, which was officially founded on September 1, 1973 by the late Bill Goode.

The Dean, who became Rector of Cringleford in 2001 including the round tower church of St Andrew, Colney, in 2001, led the service.

The Society’s long-serving secretary, ‘Lyn Stilgoe, was invited to give one of the readings. Her text, Ecclesiastes, chapter 8.

In the past half century, the Society has awarded more than £400,000 in grants to help maintain churches.

It was fitting that the service was held in Norwich Cathedral because Norfolk has 124 of the country’s 180 round tower churches. A further 38 are in Suffolk.

The Society’s officers all attended including the chairman Stuart Bowell; treasurer Nik Chapman, membership secretary Nick Wiggin and committee member Kate Davey. Richard Barham, hon life vice-president and long-serving former treasurer was also present.

With a growing membership of more than 500, the Society relies on subscriptions, donations and legacies to fund its grants to preserve these distinctive churches.

The view inside Norwich Cathedral. Photograph: Simon Finlay Photography.