The programme of Sacred Music this winter season at St Augustine’s church in Ramsgate has been heralded a “Great Success”. The Three concerts running from Late November through until Mid-December were performed by the London based Victoria Consort on the theme of Christ’s redemption in music; the internationally recognised Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge on ‘the Light’ Seasonal Sacred Songs; and the Kent based Merry Opera Company’s Christmas Concert.
All three concerts were very well attended with a significant number of those present, making their first visit to St Augustine’s.
Chairman of the Friends of St Augustine, Fr Marcus Holden said “We were delighted by the wonderful performances by the choirs and by the amount of support we received from the local community. A considerable number of those attending told us that this was either their first visit or had not visited for many years. It was very pleasing to see so many people at the concerts. We were very grateful to see so many people coming into the church.”
The concerts were part of the Friends of Pugin’s church of St Augustine’s campaign to raise funds to restore the church to its former glory. Thanks to the many generous donations and from the grants received from English Heritage, the National Churches Trust, Friends of Kent Churches and other groups, including the support of the Pugin Society, work has started to restore the church. Funding so far has paid for sufficient remedial work on the church to be carried out to enable St Augustine’s to extend its opening times and put on more events.
“A couple of years ago it would have been thought unthinkable to put on concerts. The Organ was out of order and the lighting was out of order – the church was hardly usable and barely open to the public at all. Two years on, thanks to the support of the community, the many local volunteers and generous grants and donations from trusts and individuals, we have been able to put on a number of activities and events. At the same time as a place of worship, we have increased the number of masses and services” Fr Marcus Holden said.
Looking ahead to 2013, Fr Marcus Holden said “We have made a great start on our restoration project, but we know we still have a long way to go. We need to raise more funds if we are to complete the exterior work over the next few years as well as bringing the interior or the building back to the way Pugin had intended. Visitor facilities are greatly needed also.
Fr Marcus Holden went on to say “We will be holding more events in 2013 – and Sacred Music will form an important part of our programme”
(If you would like to support St Augustine’s church, please write to Fr Marcus Holden, Chairman of Friends of St Augustine 72 Hereson Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 7DS or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the website: www.augustinefriends.co.uk )
Notes for Editors. Augustus Welby Nortmore Pugin had his own church of St Augustine built next to his home, The Grange. He and his family are buried in the Church. Pugin designed many churches across the Country and abroad. He is most famously known for his designs for the Palace of Westminster and one of the most iconic buildings in the world, the famous clock tower commonly known as Big Ben.
The restoration campaign to save and restore Pugin’s church started in 2011. This year it coincides with the 200th anniversary of Pugin’s birth.