Help Holme Church Group

Meetings are held on the second Tuesday each month at 11 a.m. in the Village Hall, Kirkgate, Holme-next-the-Sea.

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St. Mary's, Holme-next-the-Sea - drawing by Helen Riviere

The Help Holme Church Group was set up in the early nineties as a result of the church needing repairs to the vestry roof. The inaugural meeting was held on 16th November, 1992 and there were just four ladies present.

It was agreed that the aims and objectives of the Group would be to raise money to maintain, repair and replace the general fabric of the church and also to encourage a greater village 'togetherness'.

In 2019 there are about twenty members in the Group and meetings are held every month except August. New members are always most welcome - just turn up at the next meeting!

Since it was founded the Group has given to St. Mary's, Holme-next-the-Sea about £63,500 to fund a wide range of projects. Money has been used to re-wire the church, renew rendering in some areas, and to provide an audio system. Purchases have included hymn books, kneelers, Christmas tree decorations and a vacuum cleaner.

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New Infra-red heaters - July 2023

In July 2023 the Help Holme Church Group funded the replacement of the heaters in the church. The new infra-red units were again installed on the walls, but this time lower down from the ceiling - which should help keep the congregation warmer in winter!

Here are a few photos taken as the new heaters were being installed. Just click on the thumbnails to see a larger photo…

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Major refurbishment of the organ - April 2019

Our church organ was built in 1894 by J.W. Walker & Sons, London and was originally installed in Holme House, Holme-next-the-Sea. In 1937 Thomas Nelson of Holme House bequeathed the organ to St. Mary's church.

In April 2019 it was decided that the time had come for a major refurbishment to be undertaken as some parts of the organ were not working as well as they should.

Messrs. W & A Boggis of Roydon were invited to undertake the work and subsequently the whole organ was removed from the church and the repairs started in their workshop.

During the second week of April the organ was returned to the church and the rebuild commenced. The photos below will give you some idea of the complexity of the work with so many parts - rather like the most difficult kind of jigsaw puzzle!

Once the job had been completed, we were so pleased to hear that all was well as our organist, Andrew, once more flexed his fingers.

The whole cost of the refurbishment of £12,370 was met by the Help Holme Church Group.

This group of photos will give some idea of the amount of work required to completely overhaul the organ. Just click on the thumbnails to see a larger photo…

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New Altar Frontal - March 2016

The Help Holme Church Group has donated a beautiful new frontal for the altar in St. Mary's. The cloth used is a high grade material with lots of gold thread woven into the fabric.

New altar frontal in St. Mary's, Holme-next-the-Sea - Photo Tony Foster

New altar frontal - detail. - Photo Tony Foster

Detail of the new altar frontal

Legend on reverse of new altar frontal. - Photo Tony Foster

Legend on the reverse of the new altar frontal

The new altar frontal was dedicated and blessed by the Rector the Revd. Susan Bowden-Pickstock at a special Songs of Praise service on Sunday 25th September, 2016. Revd. Susan also dedicated and blessed the gold curtain to the rear of the altar which had been donated in 2013 by Jan and Tony Foster, members of the Help Holme Church Group, to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary .

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Redecoration of the walls etc. inside the church - October 2013

In October, 2013 the Help Holme Church Group funded the decoration of the inside of the church and Paul Reynolds, the PCC's Fabric Officer organised and scheduled the work. The job required scaffolding to be installed in the the whole interior of the church - additionally the organ needed to be boxed in completely to ensure its safety during the painting.

Members of the Group helped clear the church and move some of the furniture to a safe place. These photos show the scaffolding that had to be erected during the work

Just click on the thumbnails to see a larger photo…

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Previously the Group funded the refurbishment of the Vestry. The work first started with underpinning the walls to rectify some subsidence which had led to cracks in the walls.

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Repairs to the north wall of the church - July 2010

In July, 2010 work was completed to repair parts of the north wall of the church. Areas of the wall at the rear of the newly built toilet and nearby were looking rather sad due to weathering and general erosion caused by old age. The Group has funded this work and, as you can see, the job was completed with sensitivity to closely match the adjacent walls.

Refurbished wall to the rear of the toilet on the north side of St. Mary's, Holme-next-the-Sea - Photo Tony Foster

A rebuilt area of wall on the north side of St. Mary's, Holme-next-the-Sea - Photo Tony Foster

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Refurbishment and rehanging of the main gates to the church path - March, 2010

Another project completed in early 2010 was the refurbishment and re-hanging of the main gates to the Church path. The hinges on the gates had to be replaced with more substantial fittings to take the weight of the very heavy gates. Additionally, the two pillars either side of the gates had to be partially rebuilt. We now have a pair of very smart gates which can be opened and closed easily - bliss!

The new main gates to St. Mary's, Holme-next-the-Sea - Photo Tony Foster

Other major projects to receive money from the group have been the installation of heaters and the replacement of the three south side windows. Another project was completed in 2009 when the Group funded all of the building work to provide toilet and kitchenette facilities for the church.

The new loo at St. Mary's, Holme-next-the-Sea - Photo Tony Foster The new kitchen at St. Mary's, Holme-next-the-Sea - Photo Tony Foster

Members of the Help Holme Church Group relaxing after Open Gardens day and enjoying a chat over refreshments. - Photo Tony Foster

The most important fund-raising event of the year is the Open Gardens day when everyone pitches in and, with the help of lots of friends and relatives, the village is host to hundreds of visitors who come to enjoy looking around the gardens which have been opened to the public and to enjoy the refreshments provided in the Village Hall.

We are always pleased when new members join us - new people with new ideas help keep the Group going. If you feel that you would like to help or contribute in any way, no matter how small, please do get in touch by emailing The Help Holme Church Group at    You do not have to be a church goer to enjoy the company of other villagers and get involved with much of what is going on in the village.

John Loversidge - 'Thank you' party

On Thursday 18th August, the Group arrange a 'surprise' afternoon party, in the Meeting Room of the Village Hall, to thank John Loversidge for organising the Group's annual Open Gardens day. Janet and John arrived thinking they were attending a birthday celebration and were amazed to see so many of the Group ready to welcome them!

The event proved to be most successful and our thanks go to Shirley for arranging the 'do' and to all those who contributed food and drink.

Ann took the pictures you see in the slideshow below (which is why, unsurprisingly, she isn't in any of them...). If you want to linger on a picture just hover your mouse pointer over the thumbnail.