The Friends of Melbourne Parish Church are pleased to announce a provisional programme of events for 2021, subject to the continued easing of COVID-19 restrictions 


29 July (evening):  Aethelflaed – Lady of the Mercians

 It’s the 890s. The Vikings have conquered Nottingham, Leicester and Derby. Melbourne, just a few miles away from Repton, the old Saxon capital of Mercia, is on the front line. Alfred the Great had secured the West half of England for the Saxons, but the Vikings are on the march again.

Can anyone save Saxon England?

The answer comes in the unlikely form of Alfred’s daughter, Aethelflaed, one of England’s most successful warrior queens. Much less famous than her father, and presumably better at watching cakes, Aethelflaed’s story shaped the future of modern England, and changed the history of Melbourne

The battle of Derby in 917 should be as famous as the Battle of Hastings, especially as we won! And Aethelflaed should be as famous as Boudicca and Elizabeth 1.

Come and hear Margaret Gildea tell Aethelflaed’s story preceded, weather permitting, by drinks on the Rectory lawn.


12 August (evening): Lessons in Leadership – from Nelson to now

Admiral Sir Trevor Soar KCB OBE DL, former Commander in Chief Fleet, will give a fascinating talk on the lessons we learn in leadership looking at our own history.

Born in Belper and educated at Loughborough Grammar School, Sir Trevor joined the Royal Navy in 1975, He commanded the submarines HMS Ocelot from 1987 to 1990 and HMS Talent from 1991 to 1994. He went on to command the frigate HMS Chatham from 1997 to 1998. He next appointment was ashore as Director of Naval Staff Duties at the Ministry of Defence from September 2000 to August 2002. Next appointed as commanding officer of the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible from 2002 to 2004. He was appointed Capability Manager (Precision Attack) in 2004 in the rank of rear admiral and was promoted to Chief of Materiel (Fleet), Defence Equipment & Support in the rank of vice admiral in 2007. Sir Trevor was promoted to admiral and appointed as Commander-in-Chief Fleet and Allied Maritime Component Commander, Northwood on 10 June 2009. He also held the honorary position of Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom from 2009 to 2012.

He is currently Chairman of the Chatham Historic Dockyard/Trust.

We will have drinks on the Rectory lawn, if the weather is kind.


15 September (afternoon): ‘Antiques Roadshow’-style event

Auctioneer Charles Hanson will be in the church all afternoon to offer valuations and advice for all those objects you have been hiding in the loft for decades. Do come along to see what has been unearthed and to enjoy some tea and cake.


23 September (evening): Graham Oppenheimer & Friends

The renowned viola player Graham Oppenheimer brings a group of friends to perform in Melbourne Parish Church. He and his international colleagues have performed throughout the world and have played with orchestras including the CBSO, Halle, English Chamber Orchestra and Academy of St Martin in the Fields London.

They will perform string quintets by Mozart and Dvorak and will be joined by local young musician and soprano, Grace Crocker for songs by Schubert. The full programme will be:

Mozart String Quintet in G minor K 516

Schubert 3 Songs for Soprano and String Quartet

Dvorak String Quintet in E flat op 97

The day after the concert, the four instrumentalists will be running two workshops for Year 6 pupils at Melbourne Junior School.


8 October (evening): The Ben Crosland Jazz Quintet

We welcome the Ben Crosland Quintet, covering the Ray Davies songbook.

Noted jazz critic Dave Gelly, writing in The Observer, said: “Ray Davies’ tunes – evocative, catchy and deceptively simple – serve his lyrics so well it is easy to take them for granted. By recasting them in the jazz idiom and delicately elaborating their harmonies, bassist and composer Ben Crosland brings them out in a fresh hue.” 

More details later in the year.

Tba (daytime): Defibrillator training

We hope to have a new date for defibrillator training once restrictions have ended or substantially eased. The original session was cancelled as we went into the first lockdown last year. More details in due course.