Cranbrook really is a special place
We have the 200 year-old Windmill, still in working order and the 500 year Rectory Cottages now housing the museum. There are many ancient buildings in Cranbrook - 163 of them are Listed. And, Cranbrook School, which in 2018 celebrated 500 years since Queen Elizabeth I granted a Royal Charter for the school to provide free education to the boys of Cranbrook. And then, of course, there is St Dunstan’s Church…
The Church we see today dates back to 1550 though a Church has been on this site since as early as the 11th century. The bells in St Dunstan’s rang out a special peal when Queen Elizabeth I visited Cranbrook in 1573 and the clock chime mechanism in the tower was a prototype for Big Ben.
The Church also boasts beautiful stained glass, medieval green men carvings, a unique total immersion font and extraordinary gothic architecture. St Dunstan’s church is very much the heart of Cranbrook and, whether you are a ‘church goer’ or not, it is a focal point for our community and encapsulates the history of the town in stone.
However! St Dunstan’s, as a grade I listed building, often referred to as “the Cathedral of the Weald” due to its size and splendour, is expensive to run and maintain. It costs on average £2,500 a week! And that does not include restoration and capital projects such as the Tower restoration costing in excess of £400,000.
Costs are rising - increasing gas and electricity prices, and the need to reduce the carbon footprint, in line with the government's directive to meet the challenge of climate change will prove very challenging. Current costs were substantially met by the existing congregation and greatly helped by the ability to hire the Church for concerts, but in 2017 it was realised that we needed to do more to cover the costs. Now, with the pandemic and Services and concerts cancelled, our financial position has suffered. Most of us make use of St Dunstan's at some time in our lives, whether it is a Carol Service, attending the Remembrance Day Service, a School Speech Day, getting married, attend a friend's wedding, a Baptism Service or even a funeral or Memorial Service.
The last thing Cranbrook would want is for St Dunstan’s to become derelict, and in 2018 we started the 100 Club to boost our income.
This is a club where members contribute a monthly amount, in this case, £5 per number. The money is collected in advance by a monthly or annual standing order or by payment by cheque of £60 (for 12 months) made out to St Dunstan's PCC 100 Club. The collected money is divided in two. One half goes to St Dunstan's and the other half is used to return to subscribing members as money prizes selected by a draw. When we started the Club we hoped that we would have 300 subscribing members, raising £18,000 a year with £9,000 going to St Dunstan's and £9,000 distributed in prizes. This would allow us to have three major prizes a year of £1,000 and ten monthly prizes ranging from £100, down to £35.
However, we have never achieved even 100 subscribing members, although we have come close. This has resulted in smaller prizes, both major and monthly. Each month the number of subscribers is recorded and this determines the amount going in to the prize fund, one third to the major prize fund, and two thirds into the monthly prize fund. The major prizes are on St Dunstan's Day in May, Apple Fayre Day in October and the Advent prize in December. Each major prize is the sum of four months going in to the major prize fund.
Now that we have smaller numbers, we have decided to change the number of monthly prizes from ten to three. Assuming we have 100 subscribing members, this would raise £500 a month with £250 to St Dunstan's, £84 to the major prize fund and £167 to the monthly prize fund.
The monthly prizes would be:
1st Prize (at 50%) £83.50 2nd Prize (at 30%) £50.10 3rd Prize (at 20%) £33.40
The Major Prize would be 4 x £84.00 £336.00
Who can join? When?
Absolutely anyone can join - and subscribe to more than one number. Just complete the standing order form, copy from the page on Welcome - St Dunstan's, Cranbrook on the St Dunstan's webpage, and return them to Church House, Stone Street, Cranbrook TN17 3HA. Monthly draws take place at the end of each month.
St Dunstan's Church is worth, we believe, £5 per month - about the cost of a pint in The George and less than a glass of house wine! To everyone in Cranbrook and the surrounding area, St Dunstan's is part of our heritage.
Absolutely anyone! Just complete the standing order form from the attached leaflet
For more information contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Telephone: 01580 715861
Thank you for your support.