Bernard Hall, Cuddington
St Mary's Centre
By Haddenham Webteam - 5th October 2013 7:30am
Asked to imagine an iconic image of Haddenham and most of us would think of St Mary's Church and the duck pond at the southern end of the village.
Church End has been photographed and painted thousands of times, it appears on greeting cards and postcards and is the quintessential English village scene. No wonder it is a popular choice as a backcloth for Midsumer Murders and other TV and film productions, when a classic English rural scene is needed.
The church and its surroundings play a very popular and photogenic part in many marriages and baptisms. It adds hugely to the aesthetic appeal of Haddenham, to say nothing of its impact on property values.
Imagine, now, the parish church closed and left to crumble into decay. How might our village be perceived when the stained glass windows are boarded up and the churchyard is fenced off as a health and safety risk? What then would serve as our natural village icon — Banks Parade? The Medical Centre? The Railway Station? Tiggywinkles? As important and relevant as these buildings are in the life of the village, they don't quite cut it as classic depictions of Haddenham, do they?
St Mary's Parish Church is 800 years old. This historic building and surroundings need lots of ongoing repairs to keep the building safe, beautiful and open to the public. This maintenance is expensive.
The parish church is our heritage — an asset to the village, passed down the generations. We all have a stake in its preservation and upkeep.
The Friends of St Mary's is a group of local people dedicated to preserving and maintaining the church and its surroundings. Their interest is focused on helping to maintain the physical building and the churchyard, nothing more.
Many of its members would not regard themselves as part of the Christian community, but understand the value of the building for its own sake. The Friends work very hard, on behalf of the whole community, to raise funds through local events such as The Big Quiz (held most recently on Friday evening, 4th October). But the income from such events is relatively modest in relation to the costs of preserving the parish church. The need is for far more Haddenham residents to recognise, appreciate and contribute financially to preservation and upkeep of our beautiful village church.
Please consider joining as a Friend. By making a modest annual donation, you will be contributing to the upkeep of one of the village's most prized assets. For more information, please contact Juanita Hughes (Tel: 01844 292215; email: firstname.lastname@example.org).