Appeal News

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 16 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.

March 2020

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.

concert poster

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.

Archbishop Justin Welby with Wivenhoe pilgrims Revd Erwin Lammens, Rector of St Mary’s Wivenhoe, Elle Vanner, Mieke Lammens, Kate King, Andrew Corner, Alison Kent, Sandrine Singleton-Perrin.

Archbishop Justin Welby with Wivenhoe pilgrims and their supporters.

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
these words:
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

Erwin’s pilgrimage companions

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.

22 April 2019

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!

£47 raised!

February 2019

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.

January 2019

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

Famous for his church cartoons in Church Times, Dave Walker will be speakingon 20th September at 7.30pm in church. Retiring collection will be taken in aid of the Transformation Appeal.

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.