Our latest newsletter

Newsletter for The Friends of Melbourne Parish Church January 2022

Dear Friends

Happy New Year!

Just when we were beginning to feel we could open our arms in welcome to each other, Omicron has swept us all into another degree of isolation, throwing much of our Friends’ companionship to the winds.  However we are planning, with as much confidence as we dare, an outline programme of events for 2022, which covers a wide variety of interesting subjects and which will enable us to use the Parish Church to entertain and draw our Friendship together.  I hope you will make the most of these events – provided we can go ahead with them.  Most will be free of charge to you and anyone you bring with you.

9 – 28 March

An art exhibition will be set up in the Parish Church, featuring artists Michael Cook and Michelle Holmes. It is planned to run from Lent until Mothering Sunday. On Tuesday 8th March, the day before the official opening, the Friends will be invited to an exclusive preview.

18 April

The Graham Oppenheimer String Quartet will return to perform Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Christ on Easter Monday. A feast of meditative music and words.

5 May

Local auctioneer and TV personality Charles Hanson will preside over our own Antiques Road Show. Check the attic and bring your items to be valued.

19 May

University lecturer and curator Dr Pam Inder brings us entertaining stories from three centuries of clothing and the clothes trade. Dress up.

June (date yet to be arranged)

A talk on the great English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens by his great nephew Martin Lutyens. Think: New Delhi.

8 or 9 July

Jazz:  Don Vappie, from New Orleans, and his European quartet Jazz Creole stop by in Melbourne as part of their European tour. Putting Melbourne on an international tour map.

20 August       (tbc)

An afternoon tea party for Friends members in the wonderful setting of The Dower House garden. What better way to spend a summer’s afternoon but among friends?

15 September

Graham Oppenheimer and friends perform two iconic pieces: Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings (one of the best and most popular pieces of chamber music ever written) and Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, with Katie Stillman as soloist. Hearing music of this quality usually requires a train ticket to London.

7 October       

Back by popular demand, The Dime Notes return to entertain us with their Blues drenched and clarinet-driven 1920’s New Orleans jazz. Foot tapping will be impossible to avoid.

Time and COVID allowing, we also hope to host a talk by two members of the Friends about their adventures getting to and travelling around the Antarctic.

We will confirm all the details and dates for these events as soon as we are able.

And other news:


We thank all our members for continuing to give us their support during these difficult times – we are grateful to each and every one.

Individual membership actually increased very slightly over the last two years and we now have more than 200 members, including sixteen family memberships – a record.

Despite the obvious difficulties they have been going through most of our Corporate and Business Members felt able to continue to give us their valuable financial support – a fantastic achievement, under the circumstances. You can find the list of our business friends at the end of the newsletter.

Without the subscriptions received from all our members of every type we would not have been able to fund the recent security and sound improvements in the church or to support the extensive renovation to the exterior of Church House, which has so transformed the look of Church Square.

The future of The Rectory

Many of you will have heard that the future of the Rectory is currently being considered by the Diocese. The Friends consider this building to be part of the whole which makes Melbourne Parish Church the very special and much-loved place it is. The Rectory is also connected to two buildings upon which the church relies heavily in terms of catering and toilet facilities, rehearsal and meeting space, and storage, as well as giving access to the sweeping lawns that run down to the Pool and that are often used to host events. We are monitoring the situation and intend to make representations to the Diocese to try and ensure that the building remains part of our treasured ‘minster quarter’.

Baptism and wedding cards

The Friends have arranged for baptism and wedding cards to be given to children and couples who are baptised or married in the Church.  The cards, with a beautiful photograph of the interior of the church, provide a year of free Friends Membership to the family.

Helping the pollinators

Working with the PCC, members of the Friends Exec have created a small wildflower area in the quadrant opposite the front door of the Rectory. In spring this year very small seedlings were planted by a group of school children in the hope is that they would set seed. Fingers crossed for new growth next year.

Executive Committee meetings

Meetings are held every quarter, more frequently if needed, and any Friend who would like to be nominated to join the committee should just drop a line to the Chairman, Gordon Hughes.

Friends of Melbourne Parish Church Corporate Members

  • Alan Staley Building Contractors Ltd.
  • Bay Tree Restaurant
  • Crane & Walton LLP Solicitors
  • J P Springthorpe & Co.

Friends of Melbourne Parish Church Business Members

Andra Health Ltd

Birds Confectioners

Chip and Pin Micropub

Doves Garage Ltd

East Midlands Airport

Edward Hands & Lewis solicitors

Forteys Sweet and Coffee Shop

Harpurs of Melbourne

Helen Burrell Jewellery

Laban’s Transport

Lemon and Lime Interiors

Melbourne Delicatessen and Kitchen

Melbourne Florist

Melbourne Garage

Melbourne Gun

Melbourne Hall Tea Rooms

Melbourne Medical Writing Ltd.

Millpond Antiques & Collectibles

No. 33 Lifestyle (home interiors)

National Forest Spring Water Co.

Pierre Hourlier Wines

Quill International Group

Royal British Legion (Melbourne Branch)

Stanton Developments

Staunton Harold Estate

Staunton Harold Nurseries

The Posh Off Licence

Tori and Ben’s Butchers

W R Spiers – Family Butcher

Village Cars

White Swan Inn

Zeerah Restaurant