Watch the Blessing of the New Church Bells Online

You’re warmly invited to enjoy a rare opportunity to watch the blessing of our new church bells online, via this wonderful recording made by our Choirmaster Ben Humphries.

This special ceremony, for which the bells were adorned with flowers, involved naming the bells, christening them with holy water and anointing them with oil.

So rare is the ceremony that our vicar, the Rev Richard Thomson, had never done one before, and our highly experienced bellringing teacher James Joynson had never witnessed one.

Despite the Covid-related restrictions on numbers for the congregation and the choir (the six ladies allowed to sing sounded wonderful), this historic service was truly celebratory, and it was a joy to see the fruit of four years of careful planning and fundraising. Special thanks to the generosity of John Appleby, without whom this project would not have been possible.

The service has now been watched by friends of St Mary’s around the world. You too may now relive the experience and enjoy it at your leisure via YouTube here:

(Find out more about Ben Humphries and his videography at his website: http://www.bhwh.co.uk)

April 2021 News

Lisa Overton, Secretary of the Friends of St Mary’s, provides our latest news round-up:

Eastertime, spring on its way and winter behind us, all the conservation work of the church completed, the new bells soon to be hung and start ringing, this is surely a time of hope and celebration for the Friends of St Mary’s.

We hope that the ending of the lockdown will allow us to plan events for the summer and autumn, including a performance by the Bristol Male Voice Choir, so please keep an eye on our website, our Facebook page and the Hawkesbury Parish News.

We hope to hold the Friends of St Mary’s AGM on Sunday 25th July in the church, followed by choral evensong, so please keep the date free.

THANK YOU TO DONORS AND GRANT-GIVERS

At the end of our successful project on the tower, we would like to thank the following for their wonderful financial support:

  • The Friends of St Mary’s, who raised and donated £55,000
  • The Enovert Trust (£20,000)
  • Gloucester Historic Churches Trust (£8,000)
  • The Sandra Trust (£8,000)
  • The Headley Trust (£5,000)
  • The Cottam Trust (£4,000)
  • The All Churches Trust (£2,300)
  • South Gloucestershire Council (£500)
  • The Renishaw Trust (£1,500)
  • The Langtree Trust (£500)
  • The Rausing Trust (£8,000)

I must add John and Stephanie Appleby and many other individuals who have been so generous. Many thanks too must go to the energetic fundraisers, especially Peter Setterfield, who organised the highly successful Waterloo Ball in 2015, to our Chairman Sir Ian Macfadyen and to Colin Dixon.

LIKE TO BECOME A FRIEND OF ST MARY’S?

The Friends of St Mary’s, founded in 1980, exists to raise funds for the fabric and preservation of St Mary’s church, and is open to anyone to join (you don’t have to be a church-goer, though you would be very welcome!)

We have members from far afield who have particular affection for this special building and its history, and who value its place in the fabric of our village and community.

For details of membership, click here. 

APRIL SERVICES

Due to lockdown, all services will be online this month, hosted on the Badminton Benefice’s YouTube account here.

4th – 10am – Easter Sunday (from Hawkesbury)
11h – 10am – Easter 2 (from Leighterton)
18th – 10am – Easter 3 (from Didmarton)
26th – 10am – St Mark the Evangelist (from Lasborough)

PLUS Midweek services on Zoom – every Wednesday at 9.30am
(Please contact the Vicar if you would like to attend)

February 2021 News

Lisa Overton, Secretary of the Friends of St Mary’s, provides our latest news round-up:

TOWER RESTORATION

We are at last seeing the church tower appearing from its strange white cladding and scaffolding and the excellent conservation done by Carrek of Bristol will be visible.

NEW BELLS PROGRESS

When Covid restrictions are lifted again, and spring is on its way, we hope to be able to gather to see all the improvements to the church, inside and out, which Colin’s photos show already. The new bells (should we call them ‘Applebells’?) are being tuned, the frame to hang them from prepared and before they are hoisted through the tower hatches, we hope the Bishop of Gloucester will come to bless them at a special service. So there is much to look forward to.

THANK YOU FOR DONATIONS

Many thanks to those kind supporters of hunkypunks and gargoyles who sent in donations for their conservation. We hope they will now be able to glare down on us and many future generations in Hawkesbury.

CHURCHYARD CLEAR-UP

It’s that time of year again! We will be turning our attention to a good clear-up of the churchyard once the scaffolding comes down, and would appreciate some strong and energetic helpers when the time comes and Covid restrictions are eased. We need to clip and clear ivy, clean gulleys and gutters and weed paths. If you would like to help, please contact me.

With thanks to John Seager for allowing us to use his beautiful photograph of St Mary’s against the Milky Way, taken at three o’clock in the morning!

FEBRUARY SERVICES

Due to lockdown, all services will be online this month, hosted on the Badminton Benefice’s YouTube account here.

6th – 10am – Presentation of Christ in the Temple (from Hawkesbury)
13th – 10am – Sunday before Lent (from Leighterton)
20th – 10am – 1st Sunday of Lent (from Oldbury)
27th – 10am – 2nd Sunday of Lent (from Badminton)

PLUS Midweek services on Zoom – every Wednesday at 9.30am
(Please contact the Vicar if you would like to attend)