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Trustees needed to save church

TRUSTEES are being sought to take Thurnham Parish Church forward into the future. And they could be taking ad-

vice from a community in Cornwall, whose church has suffered a similar fate. Following the collapse of the

PCC (parochial church coun- cil), men and women with en- thusiasm and skills are being asked to form a steering group to look at how the church can be funded and organised. At a public meeting convened

by the parish council, Archdea- con of Maidstone, the Ven Stephen Taylor, said the trustees would manage the fab- ric of the building – the fi- nances, the management and the maintenance – while the liturgical side ofmatters would remain with the clergy, who would be responsible for rou- tine services, baptisms, wed- dings and funerals. The archdeacon said he had

been in touch with parishioners in Cornwall, who had similarly suffered from a dwindling con- gregation but lived in a village which wanted to see the church remain. After a year of talks, they

were on the verge of forming an official trust, which could then bid for grants and make deci- sions as to the future of the

building, he reported. “It may be we can visit them,

or they us, and we can learn from their experience and share ideas,” he told the meeting. Parish council chairman Daniel Skinner said the parish council was keen to support the church, but could offer little, if anything, in the way of funds. He said: “We can offer practi-

cal help. We also need to draw on our contacts and think of other people who, while not ac-

tiveworshippers,might bewill- ing to take this on board.” The archdeacon said: “We are

not talking about a crumbling ruin.” But hewarned: “The suc- cess of this depends on recruit- ment of the right people.” Income from church-owned cottages in Ware Street would be split between the ministry and the church upkeep, as now, and trustees could encourage locals and those with a past connection to consider leaving

a legacy to the church. The only real skill anyone needed to have was enthusiasm, said the archdeacon. Cllrs Skinner and Morley agreed to be founder members of a steering group and contact other potential members before the parish council meeting in February. Anyone who would like to

help should contact the parish clerk: email thurnhamparish-

Statue to pay tribute to former regiment

A BRONZE statue of a soldier is to be built outside Maidstone Mu- seum to commemorate a former regiment that was based in the town. The Queen’s Own Buffs Regimental Association has gained plan-

ning permission to place the 1.07m-high tribute to a Queen’s Own RoyalWest Kent soldier, in Malayan uniform, in the museum court- yard offStFaith’s Street. The Royal West Kent Regiment, based in Maidstone, was active

from 1881 to 1961 when itwas amalgamated with The Buffs (Royal EastKentRegiment) to form The Queen’sOwnBuffs, TheRoyalKent Regiment. Artist Peter Birkett has been commissioned to create the statue,

whichwould stand on a granite plinth. From 1951 to 1954 one battalion of the Queen’s Own RoyalWest

Kent Regiment contributed to the security forces that successfully contained the communist guerrilla uprising inMalaya. It was one of its last missions beforemerging with the EastKent regiment and will be remembered by the uniform the soldierwillwear. The Regimental Association said the statue will complement a

nearby Ghurka tribute and the colour of the surrounding buildings and landscaping. It will be funded privately.



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