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Walpole Old Chapel
Annual Newsletter 2016

I w
rote last year that the committee desperately needed some new blood and by great good fortune that need has been fulfilled. Penny Wenham together with Oonagh Segrave-Daly have taken on the task of producing and distributing our publicity from Mary Henry and Philip and Linda Stevens from Holton have joined us. The local committee are looking forward to their new ideas and energy.

A celebration of the life of our great friend Linda Holmes took place on the 19th of February 2015. It was full of music, poetry, friends and family which alleviated only a little of the sadness of losing her just a year after David’s death. Linda is buried next to David in the chapel graveyard. This seems a good place to mention that an exhibition of her wood engravings, organised by Jack Stephenson is being held in The Ephemeral Gallery in Saxmundham between the 22nd and 30th of April. We hope to hold a retrospective exhibition of Linda’s work in the chapel next season.

The plan was to take the 2015 season quietly, due to both the planned restoration work and the extraordinarily busy previous season. However this didn’t really happen and the programme was fairly full. We started early in the year with a Diploma Performance on the flute by Phoebe Thomas-Weeks. It was a delightful, if chilly afternoon, and in due course her diploma was awarded. William James Summers arranged two concerts of early music which were a great success and there are more to look forward to during the coming season. The chapel was open for the Walpole Open Days which coincided with our Annual Service on mid-summer’s day. The Halesworth Café Poets paid their annual visit and the event now brings in poets from all over Suffolk.

For the Heritage Open Days in the second weekend of September, the committee arranged an exhibition of items discovered in the vicinity of the chapel by Bob Sutherland. Bob has very kindly given the items he discovered while metal detecting to the chapel. We have purchased a cabinet in which to display the items during our open seasons in the future. For the Songs of Praise the members of Waveney Valley Brass were invited to choose their own hymns and the old chapel resounded to some good old favourites ending with Charles Wesley’s ‘And Can It Be.’ We were delighted that The Village Quire once again visited the area and came to perform their new re-telling of Mary Webb’s Precious Bane for us in the chapel. In fact a good few of us who by now consider ourselves ‘groupies’ went to their performance in the URC chapel in Wortwell the night before.

The year ended, of course, on the Saturday before Christmas with our usual programme of Carols & Readings for Christmas, for which Bill Mahood always manages to find some very unusual and thought stimulating readings. An added seasonal delight was the rendition by David White Shaw of the first part of 'A Child's Christmas in Wales' by Dylan Thomas. David has promised to return this year to continue the story.

A Special Annual Service

The committee are delighted that the trustees of the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust have accepted our invitation to join us for our 20th anniversary service on the 19th of June. We are also delighted that The Lord Beith P.C, who is a former chairman of the trustees of the Historic Chapels Trust and a great friend to the Old Chapel, has agreed to give the address at the service. There will be a song from the Marenzo Singers and Tony Percival, who has played the organ at the annual service for all of those twenty years, will again accompany us. Please do join us for this very special ecumenical service.

Christina van Melzen – Secretary to the Local Committee of the Friends of Walpole Old Chapel.