70 guests attended a reception in Parliament hosted by Laura Sandys MP in support of the proposed Pugin and St Augustine education, research and visitor centre in Ramsgate.
Guests, heard speeches from Fr. Marcus Holden, Rector of St Augustine’s church, Ramsgate; local MP Laura Sandys; Paul Hudson, chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East; ITV newscaster Alastair Stewart; and Rosemary Hill, historian and author of the award winning biography of Pugin “God’s Architect”.
Also attending, was his grace, the Most Rev Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark (Archbishop Peter is also President of Friends of St Augustine’s Patrons and has supported the project since it commenced).
Those present were thanked for their support and generosity over the last three years, but were urged help gain new support for the proposed centre in the hope that it will be completed by the end of 2016.
Fr. Marcus Holden, Chairman of Friends of St Augustine’s said “I am delighted with the progress we have made in the last year and by the ever increasing numbers of people visiting St Augustine’s and offering their support in so many ways.”
He further added “ Over the coming years we want St Augustine’s church in Ramsgate to become a religious and heritage centre for St Augustine of England and for the Catholic architect, Pugin. The support we have received from the Heritage Lottery Fund and from other Trusts and supporters will, hopefully now, and over the coming months, make our project a reality. The centre will be there for the Ramsgate community, for schools, and for the many Pilgrims from home and abroad who come to visit St Augustine’s shrine. We believe this centre celebrating the landing of St Augustine and his work in evangelising England to Christianity, and that of the architect Pugin who dedicated his church to St Augustine, will add to the area’s religious significance and cultural attractions.”
Other guests from among the many organisations and supporters at the reception included: Dr Anna Keay, Chief Executive of the Landmark Trust; Lady Alexandra Wedgwood, President of the Pugin Society; Lord Pendry a former pupil at St Augustine’s Abbey School, Robert Pugin Purcell, great great Grandson of Augustus Pugin; and Mary Gibbins, Chairman of Friends of Kent Churches.
Anyone wishing to help this project, and would like to get involved should contact: Fr. Marcus Holden, Pugin’s church of St Augustine Project , 72 Hereson Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 7DS. Tel 01843 592071 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Marie Muscat-King