Ebernoe parishioners raise funds for bell tower

Children of Ebernoe starting the Trail. Ruby and Jasper Frankham and Martha Colwood.
Children of Ebernoe starting the Trail. Ruby and Jasper Frankham and Martha Colwood.
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Parisioners at Ebernoe’s Holy Trinity Church found a novel way to raise money when they held a ‘copper challenge’.

The brainchild of villager Katherine Walters, the children were challenged to see if they could create a trail of copper coins around the church car park.

It was all part of the massive effort in the parish to pay for the restoration of the church bell tower.

Secretary of the parochial church council Freddie Hughes told the Observer: “Shortly after Easter, residents of Ebernoe and Balls Cross were urged to search high and low for any spare pennies. Sofas were turned upside down, kitchen drawers raided and purses emptied for loose change. Needless to say everyone rose to the challenge and a vast number of jars and bags, full to the brim with coins, were brought to the family service.”

Young church-goers Martha Colwood and Jasper and Ruby Frankham started the trail at the altar during the first hymn and soon all the congregation were on their hands and knees giving a helping hand.

“Unfortunately the bad weather forced most of the trail to remain inside the church,” said Mrs Hughes. “But after circling the entire church the trail did manage to sneak outside the church door and was last seen heading for the gate!”

She said a staggering total of £70.02p was collected, not counting an array of foreign coins and old halfpences.

Martha Colwood was awarded a Grayshott Pottery piggy bank for collecting the most coins which was presented by Mrs Walters. Jasper Frankham guessed the length of the trail, which was 55 metres, and was awarded a box of chocolates.

Mrs Hughes said: “The copper challenge brings to an end a rather hectic few weeks of events and fundraising.”

Holy Trinity was the venue for a concert organised by parishioner Candida Franham who regularly plays the organ at family services. A professional opera singer, she persuaded some of her colleagues to give their time freely in aid of Ebernoe Church.

She transformed the church into an enchanting and ethereal stage complete with a tree, for the evening which started with a mixed programme of songs by the Ebernoe Holistic Choir.

The concert was performed against a backdrop of works of art by well-known local artists including Jan Roddick, Paul Gunn and Emma Johnson.

It was organised by Tessa Pascoe.

Although final figures are not yet known it is estimated more than £16,000 was raised from the sale of exhibits. Commission proceeds will be split between Petworth Cottage Nursing Home, Chichester Cathedral Restoration Trust and Holy Trinity Church at Ebernoe.