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The Friends of DHCT are our core supporters. They further the aims of the Trust by donating an annual subscription which enables them to attend our various events, including our celebrated Church Crawls in the summer and Lecture Lunches in the winter. Our Friends help us to run our major fund raising event Ride + Stride and, over time, they become more closely involved by volunteering to be Parish Organisers, Deanery Area Representatives and even Trustees. Some very generously remember us by making a bequest in their Will. For a subscription of £20 (or more if you wish) you can become involved in the work of DHCT – please look at the ' Become a Friend' leaflet.

Please click to download and complete the Friends' Application Form.

Update on Crawls and Lecture Lunches for 2021

The Coronavirus epidemic made it impossible for us to run our intended programme of Crawls in 2020 and it is not yet clear what plans can sensibly be made for 2021. Sue Smith has been giving us a little taste of glass from other corners of England here. 
 When the restrictions eased, we could readily enter many churches so Sue Smith gave us another fascinating selection of cameos from painted glass windows here
Much encouraged by your interest in her earlier articles on painted glass, Sue created an early Autumn selection here 
Warming to her theme, Sue then put together some fascinating images for us to enjoy, without sadly being able to visit them. Often glass is placed high up or at considerable distance so that binoculars are essential to experience the detail. You  can see them in full colour and perfect lighting here
For her November Friends' Newsletter, Sue ranged far and wide for a selection of colourful masterpieces of the art of painted glass here.   
Perhaps saving the best until last, Sue gave us a wonderful mixture of festive Christmas windows from far and wide, whose vibrant colours and imaginative designs cannot fail to lift our spirits at a time of continuing uncertainty here  
Sue has been on her virtual travels again and has given us this fascinating and eclectic collection of images to brighten up the early months of the New Year here
Our gardens are full of daffodils and Sue has found windows from all over Britain and as far afield Orlando in Florida USA which feature these portents of Spring and, we hope, a better year. Her March letter is here

For the record from happier times, 2019's programme of events 

Detail from a stained glass window depicting St Francis by Wippell & Co(1963) in St George, Fordington, Dorchester

Lecture Lunches 

Thursday 28 February – 20th century stained glass – Mr Brian Woodruffe

Tuesday 26th March – Remembering the War Dead, 1917-27 – Dr T Connor

Church Crawls 

We met at 10.30am, visited 4 or 5 churches, enjoyed a pub lunch and usually finished the afternoon session with a “tomb top” tea before going our separate ways about 4.30pm. This was our programme for 2019.

Tuesday May 14th: Meet at: Whitchurch Canonicorum

Wednesday 12th June: Tollard Royal

Tuesday July 16th: Radipole

Thursday 19th September: Charlton

Ride & Stride – Saturday 14th September

Annual event: Thursday 24 October 2019 – St Mary and St Bartholomew Cranborne 

Newsletter for 2019 

Dear Friends

Here is our "end of term" Newsletter. You can read it all on the screen or print it off, using the link at the end of the first paragraph. 

Best wishes

Sue Smith

Winter Lectures

Friends in large numbers turned out for two outstanding lectures this year at the Langton Arms, Tarrant Monkton. On February 28th Brian Woodruffe spoke on stained glass in Wessex and on March 26th Tim Connor reviewed War Memorials in Dorset churches. We are lucky to have such authoritative lecturers, and to have a welcoming venue where an excellent lunch is provided, allowing plenty of time to meet other Friends socially and to engage informally with the speakers.   View full Newsletter

Church crawls 2019

Friends have enjoyed a great summer of church crawls starting on 14th May in the deep west of the county at Whitchurch Canonicorum, Charmouth, Monkton Wyle and Catherston Leweston. The June crawl started at Tollard Royal on 12th June and Friends generously supported a “bring-and-share” lunch in Sue Smith’s garden after visiting St Laurence Church, Farnham. After lunch we visited the small chapel at Gussage St Andrew and were lucky to have the experienced conservator Ann Ballantyne to decipher the beautiful and ghostly wall paintings. At Sixpenny Handley we were warmly welcomed by Canon Richard Hancock and were able to admire the newly re-discovered and re-installed reredos by Martin Travers.

In July, the Friends were greeted with refreshments at St Anne’s church, Radipole and from that lovely spot we visited St Aldhelm’s in Radipole, then Preston and Osmington, with a very sociable lunch at the Springhead pub in Sutton Poyntz.

In September we dipped our toes into Wiltshire! The crawl was themed on the stained glass of Henry Haig. The Friends had turned out in good numbers and were greeted with tea and coffee at Charlton church where Brian Woodruffe spoke eruditely about the stunning stained glass by Geoffrey Webb and Alan Younger. We next visited Donhead St Mary and then lunched at The Benett Arms, Semley sitting outside in the brilliant sunlight. In Semley church we were moved by the beauty of the Henry Haig window memorialising PC Yvonne Fletcher, a daughter of Semley, who was shot dead while on duty outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984. Also in the church is an unusual window by F C Eden, a detail of which features on our 2020 event card. The last church we visited was the church of The Most Holy Name and Edward, King and Martyr in Shaftesbury. Here again the work of Henry Haig offered a beautiful and spiritual focus to the building with his east window of 1977.

Annual Event

Each autumn the Friends of Dorset Churches year ends with a get-together and in 2019 over 60 Friends of the DHCT were welcomed in the Garden Room at Cranborne Garden Centre to mark the conclusion of this year in support of the Trust. Chairman, John Stokoe, gave a review of a successful season of church crawls and was able to add that early figures for the results of the annual Ride+Stride were looking very good.

Following a splendid buffet lunch in the Garden Room, members progressed to the church of St Mary and St Bartholomew, where Dr Tim Connor gave an authoritative account of the history of the building since before the Norman Conquest. A lovely musical interlude was provided by Janet Coles, cello, and Laura Manning, piano.

Sue Smith, who with Mike Warren had done so much to make the day possible, then spoke about the stained glass in the building which is again very varied and full of interest. After returning to the Garden Room for tea, Tony Bates of the Dorset Wildlife Trust gave a well-illustrated talk on the Living Churchyard Project. The importance of churchyards as havens for wildlife and their suitability for this role was plainly evident.

The Trust looks forward to the new year with vigour and enthusiasm. For details of membership and of next year’s events, which start with the first winter lecture/lunch in January, contact Sue Smith on 01725 552225 or email [email protected]