The Friends of St Mary's Gallery

Some pictures from projects and events

Over the years the Friends have held many varied events, the proceeds of which have helped fund many projects and purchases for St Mary’s, some of which have been recorded. Below are some of those photographs. If you have pictures that could and you would like to be included here we would be delighted to received them and add to this collection.

Afternoon Tea party at the Red House

The day of the party dawned bright and sunny, and a collective sigh of relief was heard! The lawns of The Red House were transformed into a sea of tables and chairs set up under a canopy of parasols and gazebos. The extensive gardens were beautifully manicured and looked delightful. Plant and produce stalls had been created displaying a huge variety of items comprising home-made preserves and elderflower cordial, together with plants ranging from hollyhocks and lavender to hostas and bluebells. Raffle prizes were on display which included champagne, a food hamper and many other items, the most unusual of which was an MGA car donated by the owner! Guests were served a delicious afternoon tea, including scones, cakes and sandwiches, by members of the Friends and teacups were endlessly refilled to quench thirsts on such a hot day. The Garden Party was attended by more than 70 people who thoroughly enjoyed the event and, due to their generosity, over £1,000 was raised during the afternoon which will be used for the maintenance of St. Mary’s Church, Sundridge. A few photographs of the day:

The installation of the toilet, a pictorial Before and After and the bits in between.

The most recent and by far the largest project is the toilet facilities to which the Friends made a significant financial contribution. Here are some photographs showing the before, during and after stages of the work.

A party to celebrate the completion of the work on the toilets

In January the Friends held a party to celebrate the completion of the installation of the toilets in the Church and to thank our members for their support which helped make the project possible.. A lovely occasion with wine, nibbles, a quiz and music. Much enjoyed by all that came


John Rutter Come and Sing Day September 2019

On 14th September 2019 we were fortunate to have John Rutter return for the third time to conduct a Come and Sing day. We held the event at St Nicholas Church (St Mary’s doesn’t have the space or the parking for 400 singers). The weather was delightful, the singers full of talent and enthusiasm and John was .. well just brilliant! In the course of the day he turned 400 individuals into a cohesive choir singing a wide variety of music, most of which John had written or arranged. A truly wonderful day. The photographs taken on the day give just a little taste of what a superb day it was and how much it was enjoyed. 

The Hog Roast

Over the years the Friends have held a number of wonderful Hog Roasts. The food has always been brilliant, superb pork and crackling for those that eat meat, vegetarian option for those that don’t, lots of salads for everyone, apple juice, orange juice, wine and real ale and to accompany the food and drink there has been live music of all sorts, single singers to bands. A really lovely social occasion. We have a few photographs and I am sure there are many, many others where people have recorded a joyous day in good company enjoyed in a delightful garden setting. The weather wasn’t always perfect but the company was always superb.   

John Rutter Come and Sing Day Saturday 27th May 2017

On 17th September 2017  John Rutter returned for the second time to conduct a Come and Sing day. The Sing Day was held at St Nicholas Church (St Mary’s doesn’t have the space or the parking for 400 singers). The weather was brilliant as John’s conducting, the singers were all in good voice and a wonderful time was had by all. We had singers from France, America, Canada, Australia and a complete choir from Estonia! Another wonderful day as the pictures show. 

Rochester Cathedral Rooftop tour

The Friends organised a Rooftop Tour of Rochester Cathedral and those brave enough to go were treated to amazing sights, from the roof top and from the various places they had to journey through on the way to the roof.

The Jazz evening Impromptu Conga

The Friends held some Jazz evenings in the beautiful garden Bishops Mead with the very kind permission of Bruce Walker, We are not sure why he decided to lead the conga but we have evidence that he did!

The Bells of St Mary’s

In 2004, the bells at St Mary’s and their frame were inspected and it was found that two bells were cracked, bearings were worn out and the whole assembly rattled around when the bells were rung. A quotation was obtained from Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which at the time was one of only two foundries in England and the nearest to St Mary’s. The repairs cost £53,000, which was a great deal of money for a small parish to find but, mainly by hard work and initiative on the part of the bell ringers themselves, the sum was found in about 9 months.