St Augustine’s held a Fundraising Dinner for Friends, donors and their guests, which was hosted by Alastair Stewart. The high-profile broadcaster, who went to school at the St Augustine’s Abbey School, has been a long supporter of the restoration of St Augustine’s and the proposed Education, Research, and Visitor Centre.
At the Dinner he gave an entertaining and passionate speech in which he called upon people to “preserve history”.
Citing the world-famous Houses of Parliament, Alastair Stewart said that we must always think of Pugin when we see them, and so think of Ramsgate. It was from his home is Ramsgate, next to St Augustine’s, that Pugin designed much of the Houses of Parliament.
Alastair Stewart said, “Pugin gave us a real treasure, something that represents a huge amount to the nation and the world. It is St Augustine’s in Ramsgate: the church Pugin built as the model that embodies his unique and valuable ideas. Look at the Houses of Parliament and you will see Pugin’s work everywhere. A symbol of our nation, the tower often known as Big Ben, is Pugin’s work, yet he pointed people not there but to St Augustine’s.
“We need just sixty thousand pounds to save history. St Augustine’s needs your support to open a dedicated education, research, and visitor centre, and to complete its restoration. This building is too important to lose. Please help if you can.”
Alastair Stewart also spoke about his time at the School which used to be run by Benedictine monks on the St Augustine’s site. “I remember the peace, the quiet, and the consolation that I could find in that church.”
Speaking after the dinner, the Rector of St Augustine’s, Fr Marcus Holden, said, “I am very grateful to Alastair Stewart for hosting this fundraising dinner for us. The visitor centre will enable us to tell the stories of St Augustine and Augustus Pugin, and to attract many more visitors, pilgrims, and tourists to Ramsgate. By restoring the interior, the church will once again be Pugin’s complete vision of the Gothic arts revived.
“We need to raise the money to match-fund our Heritage Lottery Fund bid. Please help us to achieve this project, to re-present Pugin to the world, and to secure this most important site for the future.”