An ancient church in need requires friends who live further away
By Rachel Naylor A group has been launched to ensure that Astbury’s “iconic” church has a secure future.
Friends of Astbury Church wants people to have a direct impact on the wellbeing of St Mary’s, on School Lane.
running of the church.
It added that maintaining the fabric, the renovation and restoration of the building itself on top is a huge task and should be open to a wider body of people for whom the building itself will have greater meaning.
Mr Sharples said: “We have a lot of people who have connections with the church. They sing in the choir, for example, or have had weddings and christenings here.
gives people a lot of pleasure and our doors are always open.
“We have a responsibility to upkeep this beautiful building but it falls on a few people which is why we are appealing to people outside of the parish who have an affiliation with the building.”
Members of Friends of Astbury Church will get invited to exclusive future events to be confirmed, such as concerts and dinners, and receive a newsletter about the church.
The Chronicle, Thursday, 10th November, 2011. www.chronicleseries.co.uk 7
Leisure centre pool to close
The swimming pool at Congleton Leisure Centre is to close for “vital repairs” next week.
It will be closed from Monday to Thursday so that a replacement water tank can be installed. All other areas of the leisure centre will remain open.
The pool will reopen on Friday. A council spokesman said: “Additional maintenance work has been brought forward and will also take place during the week to avoid any further closures this year.
“Alternative swimming pools can be found in Sandbach, Alsager and Macclesfield.”
For more information, visit the Congleton Leisure Centre pages at everybody.org.uk or follow developments via twitter @cecleisure
The Rev Jonathan Sharples, the rector, said the Grade I listed building costs £1,700 a week to run but relies for income solely on donations and legacies, as it is independent of Government subsidy.
Although St Mary’s is one of the largest church buildings in Cheshire, the parish of Astbury is one of the smallest, with less than 1,000 peo-
le living within its boundaries.
The parish magazine said those who attend services at the church should be responsible for providing the finances which enable the day-to-day
“Many people love the church; it’s an iconic building on the village green. It’s one of most photographed village greens in Cheshire.
“We’ve got a great big building and there’s a lot of people who would certainly like it to stay there, as a historic monument and one of the most beautiful buildings in the area.
“It costs around £88,000 a year. Four years ago, we had to spend a quarter of a million pounds on the spire on the roof.
“Part of the money was raised by the congregation but some was funded by English Heritage as it’s a grade I listed building.
He added: “So far there’s been a slow take up but the group’s only in its nascent stages. We’re still setting up the committee. The church has great architecture, it
Council consults with bus and taxi service providers
A consultation event on Friday will discuss Cheshire East Council’s tendering of contracts with bus and taxi providers.
The authority has been re-examining its tendering programme, how it manages relationships with transort contractors and how it can improve the quality of service to customers.
Now, Cheshire East Council and assenger transport specialists TAS Partnership are offering companies the chance to contribute to the review.
Providers will get the opportunity to discuss the council’s terms and conditions of contract; quality standards; and the procurement of home-to-school transport.
Coun Rod Menlove, Cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services, said: “Managing directors or those responsible for tendering for council contracts are invited to attend these important one-day events.
“The council and TAS Partnership will make short presentations but we also want to hear the views of visitors on what we can expect from each other.
“For example, on the procurement of home-to-school transport, should we bundle routes and contracts and commission one operator for one school? These are just some themes we are interested to hear views on.”
Two consultation events have already taken place this week — at Tatton Park on Monday, another was held yesterday (Wednesday) at Alexandra Stadium, Crewe and a third takes place tomorrow at Tatton Park for taxi / minibus providers.
The consultation will run from 10am until 2.30pm and up to two delegates per company will be permitted, although places may be restricted to one per company.
Any providers interested in attending should contact the council on 01270 371479.
Vast array of carpets at
The vast array of carpets on display at Royle Street Carpets’ premises in Royle Street, off Rood Hill, in Congleton. (“Chronicle” photo. 924/01).
Mr Sharples said: “We’re thinking string quartets and drinks on the rectory lawn to thank them for giving something back!
“The church was mentioned in the Domesday Book and has been there for 1,000 years; we want to keep it standing for next 1,000 years.”
Eye off iPhone
An iPhone was stolen from the driver’s side of a Ford Fiesta at the Shell garage, Clayton Bypass, Congleton, while the owner was filling up, at 7.50am on 26th October.
Donations received though the friends will be administered under the charitable status of the parochial church council, enabling it to be gift-aided where appropriate, increasing the income under current rules.
It is recommended that “Friends” make an annual donation of whatever they can afford.
To join the Friends of Astbury Church pick up a leaflet from St Mary’s Church, Glebe Farm Shop or the Egerton Arms, or email the rector on email@example.com and he will send a membership form or write to the membership secretary c/o the Rectory, Astbury, CW12 4RQ.
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