Friends of St Mary Magdalene

Friends of St Mary Magdalene - An Introduction

Helmdon Parish Church

The Friends of St Mary Magdalene was set up as a charity in 1995 with the aim of maintaining the church as an historic building. It is quite separate from the Parochial Church Council. The church fabric is examined every five years (called a Quinquennial Review) by a Diocesan Board of architects.

The first amount raised was £40,000, half of that coming from grant awarding bodies such as English Heritage. The rest was raised from loans from local people and fund raising activities. Repairs have been necessary to part of the tower and the roof of the nave.

The Friends hold various fundraising events throughout the year, such as Safari Suppers, quiz nights, pie and poetry evenings, Car Treasure Hunts and barbeques. This helps maintain funds and also involves the village in local community activities.

You can make a donation which stands alone, but the Friends also have a membership scheme where people can make a donation towards the work of maintaining the beauty of the church building by keeping it in good repair.

We hope that you would like to become a Friend and make a yearly donation. The benefit to us is a basic yearly income and for this we really do need your help! If you feel you would like to join this scheme please complete and submit the online enquiry form and we will get back to you. Alternatively, forms are normally available in the church.

Friends of St Mary Magdalene - News & Events

A full house for the Fiori Musicali concert - posted 14 January 2020

The church was filled to capacity on 7th September with around 140 people coming to see Fiori Musicali playing pieces with an Italian theme. It is many years since they last visited Helmdon and, following the success of this concert both musically and financially, we hope that their return will be much quicker this time.
The evening featured composers Vivaldi, Mozart, Rossini and Boccherini, with performers directed by Penelope Rapson on harpsichord and with regulars Kirsten Linder-Dewan and Malu Lin Swayne on violin, Nichola Blakey on viola and Poppy Walshaw on cello – all playing on authentic instruments from the period. Hungarian soprano Judit Felszeghy sang beautifully, with wonderful clarity, expression and virtuosity. Fiori don't normally include an encore in their performances, but they were sufficiently pleased and impressed to do so this time.
After paying the costs for Fiori and the other expenses, the evening made a profit of more than £550 for the Friends. As usual this will go towards maintaining the fabric of our beautiful church. Penelope Rapson has spoken in the past about the excellent acoustics of our church and there were similar comments this time. The Fiori musicians themselves were very complementary about the organisation, so thanks to all the helpers that made this such a great event and thanks also to everyone attending. For those of you that missed out we hope that Fiori will be able to return in the not too distant future. Thanks also to Chris Mount at BrightRise Photography for the accompanying pictures.

Chris Gartside

Fiori Musicali during rehearsals

Malu Lin Swayne, Kirsten Linder-Dewan and Penelope Rapson in mid-performance

Fiori's musicians taking a bow

Judit Felszeghy takes her applause