Friends of St Mary's

The Friends of St Mary's

***Updated 17 March 2020***

AGM and Talk on the Air Ambulance Service

Thursday 26th March

Spire Room, St Mary’s Church, East Preston

7.00pm:  Friends of St Mary’s AGM

7.30pm: Coffee, Tea and Biscuits

7.45 (Approx.)

“The Work of Air Ambulance Kent, Surrey and Sussex ”

a talk by Mike Charman

Everyone Welcome

Admission is Free, but there will be a retiring donation for the Air Ambulance Service

Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex is an independent charity. Last year they were called out to help over 2000 people in life-threatening conditions. For 18 hours a day, they operate with two crews. For the remaining 6 hours of the day, there is one crew and are still on call to help anyone in need.  They can reach any part of the three counties within 25 minutes.

Aims and Objectives

The Friends of St Mary’s (FOSM) is a sub-committee of the Church of St Mary the Virgin, East Preston with Kingston. Its objective is to raise funds for the upkeep, improvement and development of the fabric of the Church building. It does not contribute to the general running of the church.

EPIC Appeal

The 2016 survey of the structure of the church building reported defects totalling about £150,000. They were categorised into degrees of urgency spread over the next 5 years untill the next survey in 2021. 

As a result of previous fundraising efforts, the Friends Of St Mary's were able to commit the sum of £30,000 towards the cost of £46,000 for the repointing of the South elevation of the tower. This was completed in 2018 and was considered the most urgent of the repairs necessary.

To enable some of the remaining defects - some of which remain on the urgent list - to be addressed as soon as possible, we now need to raise another £100,000 approximately . Some of this may come from grants, but we need to be able to demonstrate what we have done to help ourselves as a village to qualify for consideration.
Repairs of this nature are expensive as they require specialist trades when dealing with a Grade 1 listed building.  Of course building costs have risen since 2016, and no doubt there will be additional items when the next quinquennial is prepared.

To raise these funds we are launching the EPIC Appeal for East Preston’s Iconic Church, consisting of:

  • Distribution of Flyers to all residences in East Preston and Kingston during September and October 2019
  • A Christmas Tree Festival from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th December 2019

The EPIC Appeal will remain open until the target of £100 000 has been reached, so you are very welcome to make a donation

See the EPIC Appeal page for more details

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What has been achieved so far

In 2009, with the assistance of a grant from the SITA Trust, the following work was completed at a cost of over £30,000:

  • Restoration of the North East corner of the Church 
  • Roof of the North Door Porch partially repaired 
  • Renewal of the stone stairs leading up to the tower 
  • Roof of the Lych Gate re-grouted 
  • Re-rendering of the North and East outside walls
  • Replacement of Perspex window covers with steel grills
  • Repair of a blister on the chancel inside wall

In 2018, the following work was completed at a total cost of £46,000, of which FOSM committed £30,000 

  • South Side of the Tower was re-rendered to prevent damp entering the church
  • A metal handrail was installed in the spiral Tower Staircase to comply with Health and Safety regulations

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What is planned to be achieved

The most important and costly of the remaining items include:

            Re-rendering the North wall and refurbishment of rainwater goods.                  £35,000

            Repair and renew stonework externally and internally.                                      £28,000

            Renew lighting to save future costs.                                                                  £20,000

            Extend lightning conductor.                                                                                £10,000

                                                                                                                           Total:    £93,000

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Committee and Members of the Friends of St Mary's


Chairman:     Malcolm McLelland

Secretary:      Jack Cogman

Treasurer:      Carol Cogman

Committee Members: Jackie Collett, Stella Collier, Brian Cooke, Dorothy Lee, Fr. Andrew Perry


New members of the committee are always welcome. If you would just like to help the Friends of St Mary's, why not become a member?

Membership costs only £10/year for an individual or £15/year for a family.

Details are given in the Membership Application Form

As this form cannot be filled in on-line at the moment, please print a copy and return to the address shown.


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Formation of the Friends of St Mary's

Early in 2006 Saint Mary’s Church was in a desperate financial state with regards to a regular income and was not in a position to deal with expensive repairs to the building. The Church authorities were pursuing a plan to install a mobile phone mast in the church tower, and thus be able to attract a steady income of about £5000 per year.The Group who were later to become the “Friends of Saint Mary’s”, were opposed to the scheme and so started a lively campaign to oppose it. In the end, it was agreed that there would not be a mobile phone mast on the tower, but that the Church was a vital focal point in the village, and must be kept in a good state of preservation for all to enjoy.

Although many of the original group were not part of the St Mary's congregation, they volunteered their services to the Church to help preserve the church building. So “The Friends of Saint Mary’s” came into being with the specific objective of spearheading the financing of the restoration and maintenance of the building, rather than to add to the general church funds.

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Contact Us


Phone: 01903 412961

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Data Protection Policy

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that came into force in May 2018 give greater protection to personal data than existed previously. Under the GDPR, all organisations, which includes the Friends of St Mary’s (FOSM), are allowed to collect and use personal data where they have a legitimate reason in doing so. This policy explains how the Friends of St Mary’s uses your personal data in compliance with the GDPR.

FOSM holds personal data obtained from your application form for which you have given consent, e.g. postal address etc.. These details will only be used to contact you in connection with FOSM business, such as newsletters, notices of meetings and events. The data are held on a computer dedicated to maintaining a membership database. This file is password protected and any backups are similarly password protected. 

FOSM also holds for a limited time the bank account details of those members who pay by standing order.

Data is retained while membership is active and for no more than two years after membership has ceased.

General Practice:

  1. Data Sharing: 

No data is shared with any third party, be it an organisation or an individual, without the explicit permission of the member whose data it is. The member in question will be specifically asked for this permission. 

The only exception will be if the information is required by law.

  1. BCC (Blind Copy) for emails:

Emails sent to the general membership are distributed using the BCC (blind copy) facility, so that no member’s email address is disclosed to another.

  1. Personal Data Files:

Data files containing personal data must be encrypted or password protected.

  1. Information Requests:

Members of the Friends of St Mary’s are entitled to ask for information on any data that it holds for them. FOSM members and members of the public are entitled to ask for the FOSM Data Protection Policy. These requests will be logged.

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