Friends of St James

St James Church and Graveyard

The "Friends of St. James Westhead" organisation has been registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) with the Charity Commission for England and Wales with the registration number 1166607.

Do you cherish St. James Church?

St. James Church in Westhead has, for over 160 years, been the place where the families of the village have celebrated the joy of new life with Baptism of babies, the excitement of weddings and the sadness of saying goodbye to loved ones.  

The beautiful interior of the church and the splendour of the stained glass has been a joy to both regular and occasional visitors.

When the church was built it served a small number of local farms but over the years Westhead has grown into the village it now is.  As well as the changes in housing, times and styles have also changed and have been matched by changes to the building.  We think of the introduction of the fellowship area including kitchen and toilets, as well as the introduction of eco-friendly warm air heating.   

And, of course, after 160 years, a certain amount of TLC is necessary, with, for example the repair and redecoration of the chancel arch.  We all know that churches are under threat of closure when the cost of keeping them open becomes too great.

Would it matter to you if the church were to close?

If you answer ‘yes’ then please become a Friend.

The future…

What do you want the church to look like in 5 or 10 or 25 years? 

As a Friend of St. James you can play your part in ensuring the future generations will still be able to celebrate the major stages in life of the village. 

As an example, if every household in the parish were to join and donate £10, then within a year the chancel arch would be repaired and redecorated. 

A further year would see the tower repaired and able to broadcast the sound of church bells again. 

Do you value St. James Graveyard?

When the church was built in the mid 1850’s, the graveyard was quite small, being that part of the current graveyard in front of the church and to the right of the path from the Lych Gate. 

Over the years the graveyard has had to be extended—first to the left of the path and then behind the church and also including an area for cremations rather than graves. 

The needs of the graveyard do not reduce and the current plots are getting full.

Would it matter to you if the graveyard were to close?

If you answer ‘yes’ then please become a Friend.

The future…

There is a further area of land to the north and adjoining the graveyard that could be used.  Planning permission and landscaping would be needed and it would be good to use the land not just as a graveyard but also as a peaceful and relaxing community garden.

As a Friend of St. James you can play your part in ensuring the future. 

How do I become a Friend of St. James?

The “Friends of St. James Westhead” society has been registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) and you are  now invited to apply to be a member.  Membership is open to anyone who has an interest in maintaining the church and graveyard and costs £20 per member per calendar year.  If you are interested in getting involved please email friends-of-st-james@outlook.com for further information. 

It is important to note that this is not ‘just another church group’ but is a vital way for the wider community to be involved in maintaining what are community resources. 

The charity is run by a separate management committee, with a number of local people as trustees.  All decisions about the use of funds will be agreed with the membership before action is taken.