A church appeal with a difference: ‘We are not asking for your money’

St Mary and St Margaret's Church, Sprowston where they are hoping for the community to get involved

St Mary and St Margaret's Church, Sprowston where they are hoping for the community to get involved in using and looking after the building. Left to right Penny Rennie, June Stanforth, Simon Macfarlane, Canon Simon Stokes, Oliver Gurny, Mary Stokes and Charlotte Gurney.Photo: Steve Adams

A historic church has launched a new appeal – but it does not want your money, it wants a little of your time to help out with odd jobs.

St Mary and St Margaret Church in Church Lane, Sprowston, has played a central role in the rites of passage of generations of local families, from christenings to marriages and funerals.

But while the church may still have a comforting place in the background for many who pass it every day, its Friends Group has asked people to help ensure it will still be there for decades to come.

Asked what would happen if people did not volunteer, Keith Kincarr, a lay member of the church steering committee, said: 'There will be some problems because simple things will slip off the list and you will have an older generation trying to run things like fetes and children's days and it will gradually fade out, and we want to engage younger people – middle aged and teenagers.

'We want to encourage the whole spectrum of the parish to get used to helping for half an hour or an hour. It could be as simple as one day when we clean, or a fete.'

He said the church is not seeking donations for a big project, and people who helped out did not have to be churchgoers.

Jobs which could help include cleaning the monuments or gutters, sweeping the aisles, or helping out at events like a teddy bears' parachute jump from the tower.

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Mr Kincarr said one man in his 20s who works for a media company is looking to update the church's guidebook.

He said many people love the church's peace and quiet, and windows, and added: 'If you look at the visitors' book, the comments in there are from far afield and they enjoy the quietness and the fabric of the building, and that is what we are trying to maintain.'

Can you help out? Contact the Friends Group at office@sprowston.org.uk, 01603 411194 or drop a letter into the 'Friends' box at the back of the church.

Do you have an interesting heritage project? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.