The Friends of St Neots Parish Church

We raise funds to help conserve and restore this beautiful 15th century Parish Church. Registered Charity No 1178630
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St Neots Parish Church is a large 15th century church in the small town of St Neots in west Cambridgeshire. Its postcode is  PE19 2BU.

We need Friends to help us with the repair and restoration of this historic church.
Will you please join us in preserving this
beautiful, ancient and important building?
We are charitable and registered for Gift Aid
Our Friends are people who want to help restore and repair this beautiful church building  for the future. They are people of all faiths
and none. The Friends are a non-religious organisation but we work closely with the Church Council on Restoration matters.
We also have friends who help by supporting our fund-raising events.

Cheese, Paté and Wine Social Evening
Saturday 6th October 2018
at 7.30pm

Fine wine and cheeses with a variety of 'real' pat
We hope there will be an interlude of live music.
Bring your friends.
In St Neots Parish Church (the heating will be on).

Our 2018 Annual General Meeting took place on Wednesday 30th May in St Neots Parish Church. The accounts for 2017-2018 financial year show that we raised £7201 and also show how we have deployed the money we have raised. We voted a constitutional amendment to make the 'Charitable Objects' of our Association comply with the requirements of the Charity Commission. As a result we are now Registered Charity No 1178630.  In the past year we have supported repair of the chiming clock in the Church Tower and purchase of seat cushions for the pews in the the church. We need more members so please contact us.
Concert by Ely Cathedral Choir

Book the date!!
The choir of Ely Cathedral have agreed to perform a fund-raising concert for us on
Saturday 2nd March 2019
in St Neots Parish Church at 7.30pm

This will be the choir of young singers and men which sings in the Cathedral.  It will be a rare chance to hear them here in St Neots.

How have we used the money we have raised so far?
In financial year 2016-2017 we gave £6000 towards the cost of repairs to the roof of the north aisle of the church and we purchased and installed a new bench seat in the churchyard (£856). This year so far we have provided cushions for the pew-seats in the church (Thus all users of the church, including people attending our concerts, will benefit.)

Saturday  3rd   March 2018 in church at 7.30 pm
RAF Wyton Voluntary Brass Band
This was an excellent concert with some really good playing and good solos also.
We had an audience of 150 people and made a profit of £1730 towards future restoration work.
Thanks to the Band and all who supported us.
Saturday 23rd September 2017 in church at 7.30pm
Cheese, Pate and Wine Party
This was an informal, congenial event to raise funds with about 60 people present (some others bought tickets but were unable to come) and we made a profit of about £536.
There was a live musical interlude by Friends Martine Brooks and Eileen Raggatt, both playing the flute at a very high standard much appreciated by those present.

Saturday 18th November 2017 in church at 7.45pm
'The Kingsmen'  - the Choral Scholars of the Choir of King's College Chapel, Cambridge - sang a wonderful concert for us.
They sang a wide range of musical genres and were genuinely entertaining. Not only did they have wonderful young voices and terrific 'ensemble' (musical together-ness) but they clearly enjoyed singing for us.  We sold 220 tickets and thereby made £2740 profit for The Friends. 

Kingsmen Nov18 2017
Hatstand Opera  19th November 2016 - an amazing and very entertaining performance!


The Choir of Caius College Cambridge
The programme included Allegri's "Miserere" and William Byrd's "Five-part Mass". The Miserere was performed with the second choir and the cantor in different parts of the church from the main choir. It was a truly amazing experience! And wonderful singing.
Saturday 4th March 2017 at 7.30 pm in Church

"One of the best choirs in Cambridge at present"

Caius choir

Our net profit was £1371

Our fund-raising concert on Saturday 23rd April 2016David Gower as Henry V
St George's Day and Shakespeare Anniversary. 
To celebrate these one of our Friends, David Gower, declaimed the Speech before the Battle of Agincourt from Shakespeare's Henry V.  It was really dramatic!  David was 'The King' and in costume too!
......And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves  accursed they were not here ..... upon St Crispin's Day!

This short celebration was followed by
The Hermitage Ensemble of St PetersburgHermitage Ensemble at St Neots
Listen to a short sample of their music:
 Hermitage Ensemble mp3

This was a concert by an ensemble of professional singers in the Russian tradition. The 'soundscape' was quite new to us & very exciting. They sang music from the Russian Orthodox Church and then Russian folk songs in including a very vigorous performance of 'Kalinka', and ending  with an Elvis Presley number!  What amazing voices! 

Our Annual General Meeting was on 25th May 2016  
This covered our second full year up to 31st March 2016. We talked about our fund-raising efforts and about the work on the church roof which was then just starting and to which The Friends have promised financial support. We also agreed to fund a Friends bench-seat in the churchyard and this should be installed this summer. Our trustees were re-elected and our audited accounts were approved.
We succeeded in raising £5751 from
donations, membership subscriptions and fund-raising events in the past year. Members were happy with how the Friends organisation is developing.

We have already raised over £12,000 and we have contributed to repairs of part of the church roof.

3rd October 2015
Concert by The Military Wives Choir of Wyton and Brampton RAF base and by Rachel Godsill with Marie-Noelle Kendall (accompanist)
his was a great concert!
The Military Wives choir really entertained us with their confident and moving singing. Rachel Godsill is an amazing singer and Marie-Noelle Kendall showed great musical skill in her accompaniments.

The church building dates from about 1500 and is of great architectural value (Grade 1 Listed). It is a big open church and a great venue for concerts, exhibitions etc.   Although it does not have major structural problems, it needs a steady programme of repairs. It is over 500 years old! The need to use conservation techniques means that even small repairs are very expensive.  It has an active and friendly congregation but their  resources are not enough to do everything.  So the building needs help.

We need  your help.   Here's why:  a few examples of recently completed restoration work and some new challenges we face. So far we have donated £6000 towards repairs and we have bought and installed a new bench in the churchyard so that you can sit and admire the tower.

Completed July-August 2016:  Lifting lead on a modest area of the roof of the north aisle and replacing the under-lying wooden boards which had rotted. It proved that the medieval roof beams and trusses were all sound and needed no repair. New lead (made by re-casting the old lead) was laid and improved flashing inserted to complete the water-proofing - about £30,000 . Completed autumn 2016.

Completed January 2017: The lead roofing of the south porch had some problems: water had got in and damp was affecting the stone wall beneath. As with the north aisle roof, the wooden roof boards had to be replaced which meant lifting and replacing the lead and the lead rain-water guttering.  Cost about £20,000.

Completed 2012-13:
Re-building of a single stained glass window  £16800 - the windows are of high quality and date from the mid-late 19th century. So as the windows have passed their 150th birthdays they need repairs. A number of them have been re-built in the last few years -

Completed 2013: Minor repairs to stonework and pointing on the roof of the chancel plus some minor lead repairs £8088.
Completed 2016:  New church heating system (gas-fired, blown hot air) £10,500.
Work just started (May 2016) A potentially serious problem on the roof has been discovered. There is an area where the roof boards, under the lead, seem to have decayed and lost strength. It is about 2 metres wide and 8 metres long. This area is bouncy and it ought not to be! Our contractor has lifted some lead roof-covering to see what the problem is.   Costs of the repair are guessed at somewhere around £38,000. The work should be finished by the end of June 2016.  The church won a grant of £20,400 from the government Listed Places of Worship urgent roof repair fund.
Repair of a single stained glass window - about £12500 - removed in July 2015 and rebuilt. Back home now. Looks as good as new.
We get no subsidy from UK government and we pay VAT (sales tax) on all our purchases except repairs to the historic building itself.
Please join us or make a donation
Bruce Elam (Chairman);  John Sinfield (Hon Treasurer); Peter Raggatt (Hon Secretary)

Application Form for membership & Gift Aid form
St Neots Parish Church website

The Choral Scholars of Kings College Chapel in their concert in St Neots Parish Church
15th November 2014.  We heard superb singing by these young voices and we raised £3559

Kingsmen singing in SNPC Nov 2014
They sang pieces ranging from Orlando Lassus to the Beach Boys with fantastic precision and vocal range.
They have amazing voices and we had an audience of about 250 to hear them. We also heard some excellent organ-
playing from Organ Scholar Doug Tang.  The Kingsmen website           Listen to the Kingsmen on youtube          The Kingmen's new CD