Press Release January 2021
WIVENHOE CHURCH STARTS WORK ON THE TRANSFORMATION PROJECT
After nine years of careful consideration and planning, St Mary the Virgin church in Wivenhoe has signed the building contract with Bakers of Danbury for work to begin on its Transformation Project. The project comprises the re-ordering of the existing Nave, and the construction of an annexe extension on the South side of the church . Work has already begun on the site and is expected to finish around Summer 2021.
St Mary’s does not have a church hall and community space in Wivenhoe is limited. With this construction the church aims to fulfil a need and serve all who worship and live in the town. The new annexe will provide a 40-seat room with French doors opening onto the grassed churchyard; modern toilet facilities and a small kitchen. Very importantly it will also provide level access to these facilities and to the main part of the church itself.
The design by Colchester based Architects, Inkpen Downie, allows the annexe to be used independently from the Church, with its own entrance through the Carolin Garden off East Street. It will be available for use by community groups and by individuals for events such as christening receptions, birthdays and wedding parties and will become an exciting and much needed venue for support groups of all kinds.
The remodelling of the main seating area of the church will create a bright, open space, with new flooring and light-weight chairs. This will allow for so much more flexibility for various forms of worship and for weddings, funerals and christenings. It will also significantly extend its use for large community events such as concerts, plays and exhibitions and for smaller, social activities such as quiz nights. An important decision was taken to leave the Chancel – the area around the Altar – untouched. All of the pews with their beautiful carvings will therefore remain in this area.
Revd Erwin Lammens, Rector of St Mary’s comments: “Bringing the project to completion will make St Mary’s more sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly. It will be a new start not only for church people but for the entire community of all backgrounds. This is no longer just a dream – it is the reality of taking up our responsibility as a church to serve society, care for the weak, protect and endorse our heritage, strengthen cohesion and promote tolerance. The future for St Mary’s is indeed very exciting!”
And finally St Mary’s very much appreciates the support it has received from so many people and really looks forward to welcoming everyone into a revitalised building later in the year!
Terry Vanner late yesterday afternoon cycled into St Mary’s churchyard completing his 480 mile cycle ride as if finishing the Camino pilgrimage journey to the Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.
Well done Terry on completing this challenge which has been done in somewhat difficult weather conditions; last week’s 30C+ degrees of heat, and wind and rain this week. Thank you too for your sponsorship, and of course to those people who sponsored you. You have raised a magnificent £571 towards the Transformation Project Appeal.
Well done Terry and thank you.
Peter Hill, Chairman of the St Mary’s Transformation Project Appeal
From Day 1 Terry was connected on his ride to a webservice called Conqueror Challenge, where he had entered the Camino de Santiago Virtual Challenge.
As part of this he received daily postcards at the end of each ride, showing a picture of the place where he had reached along the virtual route that day.
So here is the triumphant last postcard.
Friday 21 August.
This morning Terry had almost finished his epic 480 mile cycle ride around the country lanes of Essex as if he were doing the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across route across northern Spain.
Setting off this morning on the last leg, he found time for a refreshment near Manningtree when there were only 15 miles left to go.
Then at 8 pm tonight, a jubilant “All done!” comment appeared on his Facebook page.
Well done indeed! Congratulations to Terry on a fantastic result. For anyone who should wish to express their admiration for his great effort please click here for the donations page, it is still open.
Wednesday 19 August. Terry has now nearly cycled 400 of the total 480 miles, and experienced all weathers. He cycled out to Harwich today and got drenched this afternoon. This was his route today.
His ‘indulgence’ today was stopping off at a cafe between Harwich and Manningtree for a coffee and a hot panini. Given the weather this afternoon, who’d blame him for stopping.
Tuesday 18 August. Another 40 miles were added to the distance today.
Terry has now completed 358 miles = 74% of the challenge.
Set against the virtual pilgrim route in Northern Spain, this is where he would have reached today.
Thank you to everybody who has supported him to date. The total contributed so far is almost £500. If you would like to encourage him with a donation, please click here.
Before Terry set off this morning, both he and Peter Hill were interviewed on BBC Essex.
This is the sound clip of that interview:
Good news as somewhat unexpectedly Terry’s enforced, but enjoyable, cycling day off was abruptly ended as his bike was repaired yesterday afternoon thanks to Colchester Cycles in St Johns Street and is all ready to go on Friday morning! Gears have all been re-adjusted and realigned as well as his rear buckled wheel straightened out.
So this is his planned route for Friday:
If he achieves this route today, he will cover around 55 miles. You can follow him on his Facebook page. If you would like to support his fund-raising efforts for the Transformation Project Appeal at St Mary’s Church, you can click on this link.
Thank you to everybody who has done so. Terry’s efforts and your generosity has meant another £400 has been raised, so far…
[NEWS JUST IN on 15 August] The actual distance Terry covered today was 65 miles, which means that, at 255 miles cycled he is now just over half-way to his goal!
Terry is forced to have a rest day today whilst the gears on his bike are fixed by a bike shop in Colchester after they were badly affected by yesterday’s intense heat, causing him to be stranded on Mersea Island yesterday afternoon. After 4 days of cycling he has nearly covered 200 miles, as if he were cycling along the 480 miles of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in northern Spain.
The day did not start well for Terry in his attempt to visit both East and West Mersea on his bike. He first got a puncture whilst on the Mersea Road and then the extreme heat got to the gears on his bike whilst on Mersea. A cab had to bring both his bike and him home to Wivenhoe. His first task tomorrow is to visit a cycle shop in Colchester to see what they can do for his bike.
So with hopes dashed that he might have clocked up 200 miles on this, day 4, tomorrow is a new day, and Friday looks to be less hot.
Not sure that was his intention. He turned left at this junction and that was why he ended up in Maldon.
Wonder where he will get to next? The theory is East and West Mersea via Abberton Reservoir. He has now cycled 147 miles of his 480 mile challenge that he set himself.
Sunday, 9th August. Day 2 started badly with Terry accidentally spilling a litre of water over his cycling outfit before setting off. This delayed his start yet he still managed to complete 47 miles today, cycling around some of the villages in Suffolk, getting back to Wivenhoe around 7.30pm. Not bad at all considering it has been another searingly hot day today.
Terry’s Ride- Day 1
To help Terry Vanner raise funds for the Transformation Project please click on the link.
He is hoping to contribute £1000 to the Appeal through his efforts and already on Day 1 of his ride a generous £301 had been raised – we’re so appreciative!
Toaday Terry completed 54.5 miles
8 August 2020
Terry Vanner is cycling 480 miles in aid of St Mary’s Transformation Project
Cycling in the footsteps of Saint James the Great, along the ancient pilgrimage route from France to Spain, seemed like an appropriate way to raise money and awareness for the Transformation Project at St. Mary’s Church Wivenhoe.
Terry Vanner, a keen cyclist and one of our parishioners, decided he would take up the virtual challenge of cycling the route, as he thought he needed to lose some weight and before he was too old!
He starts his epic cycle ride at 10am on Saturday 8th August from the churchyard of St Mary’s Church and aims to finish on Sunday 23 August.
The actual route starts in the French town of Saint Jean Pied-de-Port to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great, in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, 480 miles away. As it is not currently possible to physically cycle this route, Terry will cycle the lesser hilly regions of Essex rather than northern Spain. His progress along the virtual route will be visible on his Facebook page and other Apps.
We hope that you will support Terry by donating and thus enabling us to achieve our goal. Click on this link to help Terry, and us all, to achieve the aims of the Transformation Project.
14 March 2020
Thank you to James Davy, Hilary Punnett and the Gentlemen of Chelmsford Cathedral Choir for performing a beautiful selection of choral and secular music this evening in aid of St Mary’s Transformation Project. It was an incredibly atmospheric concert enhanced by the use of our new lighting system.
If you were unable to make the concert tonight and would like to donate to the Transformation project please click here and follow our ‘How to Donate’ instructions.
CONCERT AT ST MARY’S, WIVENHOE 14TH MARCH 2020 at 7.30 pm
We are privileged that James Davy, Organist and Master of the Choristers, Chelmsford Cathedral will present a concert of choral and organ music at St Mary’s on Saturday 14th March 2020 at 7.30pm with the proceeds in aid of St Mary’s Transformation Project.
The concert will feature the Gentlemen of the Cathedral Choir; Hilary Punnett Assistant Organist and will be directed by James Davy. The concert of choral and organ music will span the centuries including a varied programme of sacred anthems and secular items. The programme will also include seasonal music, including early music for the men’s voices eg by Tallis and others.
Tickets, priced at £10, are available in advance from the Wivenhoe Bookshop or at the door on the night.
September 2019: And the winner is…
Wivenhoe textile artist Annie Bielecka generously donated one of her creations towards the Transformation Appeal. The piece was made the prize of a special raffle and ticket sales raised £500 towards the Appeal.
On Friday 6 September Annie came to draw the winning ticket.
Big thanks to Annie and congratulations to the lucky winner, both pictured here.
Pilgrimage Walk – total raised
Sponsorship money keeps on coming in and we have no final total yet. But as at the beginning of October, Erwin had raised £3,200 for the Transformation Project.
A fantastic effort!
August 2019: Wivenhoe Pilgrims welcomed by Archbishop of Canterbury
At the end of their 40 mile pilgrimage on the ancient pilgrim’s way to Canterbury seven members of St Mary’s Church Wivenhoe and their supporters were welcomed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. This was the culmination, or – as someone put it – the cherry on the cake, of a three day pilgrimage from Aylesford Priory to Canterbury cathedral where the group attended Evensong at their arrival. The pilgrims and their supporters were given a great surprise when they were warmly welcomed by the Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Revd Erwin Lammens, rector at Wivenhoe, says: ‘It was a great experience which brought us closer together as we explored our physical fitness and spiritual strength in Christian faith’.
Back home in Wivenhoe a large number of people supported the walkers by making donations for St Mary’s Transformation project. The project appeal raises funds for the building of an annexe, with a meeting room, kitchen and toilets, and for the reordering and refurbishing of the church which will transform the historic grade II* building into an even more attractive and suitable venue for worship and other community use.
28 July 2019 – To be a Pilgrim
Here are some of our pilgrims putting their best foot forward, just after the end of the
morning service on Sunday 28 July, when Revd John Driver had blessed them with
All powerful God, you always show mercy towards those who love you and you’re never
far away from those who seek you,
Remain with your servants on this holy pilgrimage,
guide their way in accord with your will;
shelter them with your protection by day, and give them the light of your grace by night;
and as their companion on the journey bring them to their destination in safety.
So Elle, Sandrine, Alison, Erwin, and Mieke, Andrew and Kate,
May God the Father who created you guide your footsteps;
May God the Son who redeemed you share your journey;
May God the Holy Spirit who sanctifies you lead you on this pilgrimage;
and the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you wherever you may go.
Erwin’s Walk for the Transformation Project
Excitement is building as our revd Erwin prepares for the walk of his life- and all in aid of the Transformation project.
Is Erwin confident at the prospect of walking the 35 miles in 3 days?
Find out by listening to
Fortunately he will have the support of five companions to keep him going: take a bow
Elle, Mieke, Kate, Andrew and Sandrine.
We wish all of them well and God’s speed! And may Erwin reach the target he hopes to achieve- let’s all help him towards it! There’s a Kindlink donation page if you wish to sponsor Erwin.
Coffee morning ‘NOT’ in the annexe
Everyone is welcome at this awareness and fund raising event, when we’ll have an al fresco coffee morning within the chalked outlines of what is hopefully to come! There will also be an opportunity to view the scale models of the Annexe design, with removable roof, which give a really good idea of what the finished building would look and feel like.
The Transformation Project team have prepared a splendid 3-D model -with removable roof- of the Annexe and it is currently on display in the church. It gives a real feel of what the planned extension will look like. The photos hardly do it justice so make sure you don’t miss the ‘hands-on’ experience while it is there!
On the same day that the model went on display, Anastashia Jones launched
her Transformation fundraising initiative in the form of delicious cupcakes to accompany the after-service coffee! Big thanks to her – and her mum!
Peter Hill, chairman of the Appeal, wrote about Wivenhoe’s response to the Transformation Project Survey in an article published in Wivenhoe News.
it can be read by clicking here.
The Wivenhoe-wide Survey that was launched last August was promoted extensively to find out the views of local residents to better understand how much support there is for the Transformation Project.
We have now analysed the responses received from some 285 people. Over half of these people had been to St Mary’s for a church service; nearly two-thirds had attended a christening, wedding or a funeral, and 75% had been to a social function such as the June or December Market. Only 26 people who responded had little reason to visit the Church.
I think it is fair to conclude that…. read the full article and the Survey results here.
Friday 21 December 2018
A third event organised by the Appeal team on Friday 21st December was very successful.
Anthony Roberts (in the spotlight & in full flow below) recited Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol absolutely fluently, stopping only to let the audience of some 75 people enjoy a glass of wine and a mince pie half way through.
All those people were transfixed by the Anthony’s performance which was enhanced by the new lighting in St Mary’s- only just completed in November. So another phase of the Transformation Project has been completed to make the Church a more welcoming venue and a special for services and events as this one.
Sunday 14 October
The Appeal Fund has grown now to just over £28,000. This is the money which has been donated since the official launch. Most of this money has come from non-church members which is very encouraging and a fact I can use when we begin writing grant applications. What is also really great is the fact that we now have people contributing a total of £550+ on a monthly basis. If you support the aims of the Transformation Project to enable St Mary’s to fulfill a greater role in Wivenhoe; if you want to express your support for this objective: even £5 a month will be significant! See the ‘How to donate’ form.
The other thing you could do to help us would be to complete the 7 simple questions on the survey about the future role of St Mary’s. Basically: should it change and how? Let us know – click here to see the Survey.
Finally, we have started organising Appeal events.
These will mainly be Concerts. There was a very successful one in September, featuring the newly-formed Encore singing group. Next, on Friday 2nd November, St Mary’s will be full of 50 performers for another concert, this time by the Wivenhoe Orchestra, the Comrie Singers and the Wivenhoe Recorder Consort. They will be performing familiar songs and tunes that evening. It promises to be a very good evening. Hope you will come.
-Peter Hill, Chairman, the Transformation Project Appeal team-
Friday 21 September at 7.30 pm
on Friday 21 September at 7.30 pm, The Wivenhoe based group ENCORE! will entertain with Songs from the Musicals.
This is a joint fundraising concert for the benefit of St Mary’s Transformation Project and Colne Radio.
Tickets are £6 from RSVP Gift shop or on the door.
Dave Walker, church cartoonist, 22 September 2018
Appeal Team Survey, 30 August 2018
St Mary’s Transformation Appeal team have designed a short Survey about aspects of
the Transformation project.
Having as many answers as possible to this anonymous Survey will help enormously
when the team begin to approach grant making bodies.
There are 7 simple questions to answer.
Please help. You can go to the Survey by clicking the green button.
If you’d rather do it on paper, there will be copies available in the church.
It would be great if you could encourage friends, young and old, to also take the Survey.
Mon 30th July – The Appeal has been successfully launched with many people in Wivenhoe already supporting it.
More than £20,000 has been raised in the first few weeks of the Appeal. This is in addition to the earlier Appeal for funds towards the costs of completing the planning application. Whilst good progress is being made on this front, there is still much work to do. Applications to grant-making trusts can only begin when we are further down this road of approvals.
In the meantime, it is the case that the more local support we can evidence for the Transformation Project, the stronger our chances of successful bids. Please click here to see how you can support the Appeal too.
Peter Hill, Chairman, the Transformation Project Appeal team.
Sat 5 May 2018 – The Appeal for £375,000 for the Transformation Project officially launched.
The St Mary’s Transformation Project Appeal was officially launched on Saturday in St Mary’s with the Bishop of Colchester, the Right Rev Roger Morris attending and our MP Bernard Jenkin who also came.
Bernard later tweeted: Tremendous project for the whole of Wivenhoe! I’m on board! There were lots of people in evidence during the afternoon. Town Mayor, Cllr Mike Newton, also came later to express his support for the Project.