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Girton Parish News - January 2001

The Front Page.

Tree Planting in the Village

Sunday 3rd December was a beautiful sunny morning - just right for planting trees.  The very wet and, at times, squelchy mud made the going difficult.  About three thousand trees were planted by families from the village with help from a crowd of army cadets.  At the end, it was lovely to see the rows of rabbit guards round the very small trees and to try to visualise how the wood will look in years to come.
My grateful thanks to the Woodland Trust and to all the people who either dug into their pockets and/or into the earth!

Jill Scrine

Message from St Andrew's

The Friends of St Andrew's

The Friends has now been operating for 8 years, providing a focus for village-wide response to conserve the central ancient heritage of Girton Parish. As a result of this response, St. Andrew's Church at the start of the 3rd Millennium since the birth of Christ, stands secure at the centre of the village - a functioning village church of simple beauty and dignity. Thanks to the generosity of the people of Girton, the Church building and graveyard are now in better condition than ever before in their thousand year history. The church is now provided with modern facilities (toilet, meeting room, audio system) and an extensive graveyard. These are a working base for the church's ministry in Girton, serving its four and a half thousand residents.

The Friends of St. Andrew's is the channel for funding the major project requirements for Girton church. These are projects which can be clearly defined and are separate from general day-to-day operation and maintenance of the church. These latter costs amount to a total of about £45000 for the current year 2000, of which £5000 is derived from fees, interest, etc., and the balance of £40000 provided by church members.

Since 1992, when the Friends of St. Andrew's was started, a total of £168000 has been provided for major church projects. The south aisle roof which had been leaking for some time, has been completely repaired, external walls have been re-rendered and pointed, the tower room repaired, and the clock face and surround restored. Internally, decayed stonework and plastering have been repaired, and completely redecorated. The early 19th century organ has been completely rebuilt and improved, and the new North Room of high architectural quality has been built onto the ancient church.

Of this sum of money, 99% has come from the people of Girton. And due to the generosity of time and expertise given by a great many people, it has been possible for the Friends to operate with virtually no administration costs and expenses, so that all monies donated have been used to meet project costs.

A large proportion of the funds generated has been in the form of direct donations plus retrieved taxes. But an extremely important, though smaller component, has come through events. In total, nearly 200 events have been held since 1992, including a wide variety of concerts, coffee mornings, lectures, open-gardens, barbecues, ceilidhs, social evenings, flower festivals, quizzes, etc. An immense amount of talent and time has been freely given, and supported by large audiences and participants. The good-will generated and the joining together of church and non-church village members is perhaps as important, or more so, as the funds raised.

No large major church conservation projects are currently envisaged, and happily, no direct appeals for funds are needed at present. However, a number of smaller, but separately identified projects, are in hand, including conservation work on the mediaeval timber chancel screen, and storage cabinets at the west end of the church. These are being funded through current events. Minor repair and maintenance projects currently in hand and due for execution in 2001 are being funded through the church's general budget, amounting to £15000 spread over the five year period 1999 to 2003.

The only remaining parts of the ancient church building which are in poor condition and out of full use are the tower belfry and the room over the south porch. These have so far been considered as of lower priority but could justify further attention. The upper porch room has charm and interest, and is of a useful size, but with restricted access by a narrow spiral staircase. The belfry is of significant interest, and was inspected by the diocesan bell specialist in 1996. It was reported to be of exceptional interest with an oak bell frame of monumental proportions. The frame consists of 5 parallel frames of classic East Anglian scissor brace form, of generous quality and completeness, dating from before the early 17th century and probably mediaeval. At present the four bells are mounted on timber headstocks with wheels, but they, and probably the frame, are not fit for circle ringing. However, the chimes are operated by ropes from the west end of the nave and are also used as chimes by the tower clock.

The parochial church council fully supports the continuing life of the Friends of St Andrew's as an integral but semi-autonomous part of the flourishing life of the village church.

John Robson

Message from the Baptist Church


Christmas presents come in all shapes, sizes and descriptions.  There are the expected and the unexpected gifts, the practical and the frivolous offerings, the delightful and the “let’s take it back” type and the exciting and the “yet another pair of socks” variety.  I’m not sure where you would classify a new diary, but it must be one of the most common presents to find in a Christmas stocking.

As you open a new diary and flip through its empty pages you cannot but wonder what the new year will bring.  Some things are already set in place, the day my birthday will fall on, the date of the harvest moon and the times of the high tide at Tower Bridge.  Other things though are yet to be inked in, the exact date a neighbour’s baby arrives, the day a friend dies and (perhaps) the date of the next General Election.  Most of us will use a diary to remind us of events, meetings to attend, things to do and perhaps for recording personal memories from the day.  The pages of a diary are a bit like life itself, some things we know at the start, other things are yet to be.  None of us know all of what lies ahead, but God promises that he will go with us wherever our path might lead and that promise is there throughout my diary.

For as my diary reminds me, and I guess it is the same for yours, the year ahead is the Lord’s.  Printed clearly on the top of every page is the year, 2001.  Two thousand and one years since the date changed from BC to AD, from “Before Christ” to “Anno Domini” (in the year of our Lord).  I know there is a current trend to change AD into “Common Era” but the new, politically correct term, cannot hide the significance of why the calendar changed.  It altered because just over two thousand years ago, Jesus came to this world, and through the Holy Spirit he is still with us today, to guide and to lead us into new pastures.

“Green Pasture” is a theme of the Twenty-third Psalm, “The Lord’s my Shepherd”.  In it the Psalmist describes the Lord caring for his people as a Shepherd would look after his sheep.  The Psalm is very much like a journey through life, there will be good times, green pastures and still waters, but also sorrows and even the valley of the shadow of death itself.  The Psalmist wrote that even in such times, he would fear no evil, for the Lord was with him, leading him not just into things, but through them and on into new pastures.  As the Shepherd constantly tends to his flock, so the promise of the Psalm is that Lord watches over his children.

Whatever the new year brings the date 2001 AD reminds us that we are in the year of our Lord.  Therefore we can hold onto the promise that Jesus gave to his disciples when he told them; “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Phillip Staves

Message from the Girton Glebe School

Our whole school community has been working on our Millennium project; to develop the courtyard garden.  The PTA has worked hard in raising money and organising working parties and the site is now cleared and ready for action.  The garden will have quiet seating areas for groups of children, some of their own work, and a sculpture designed by a local sculptor, Abbas Hashemi.

The children are being asked for their ideas for the sculpture, which Abbas will draw on and develop into the final drawing, the maquette, and eventually the carving.  The children have seen an example of how Abbas has developed his ideas through the design process to the final sculpture, and we are all really pleased that he can work with us on such an important project.  We hope you will all come and see it next year when it is finished.

The new year brings other new opportunities and challenges as the plans are finalised to increase safety for children walking or cycling to school under the Safer Routes to School initiative.  There will be an exhibition of the proposals on 22nd January in the school hall from 4pm - 9pm, so do come along and view the proposals at some time during the evening.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year for the 2000th celebration of Christ's birth.

Susan Baker, Headteacher

Last updated: 3rd February 2001