Newsletter - February 2019


On 22nd January 1997 a Notice from the Parochial Church Council of St James Church North Cray was sent to the Electoral Roll Members:

‘REJOICE GREATLY! For the long-awaited sale of the church hall was completed this week’.

There was much celebration, as it would mean no more dodging the traffic in an attempt to cross the North Cray Road to get to the hall, but more importantly, with the much-needed funds now available, it signalled the launch of the Bothy Restoration Project.

It was back in 1981 that a small group of enthusiastic church members, along with the then Rector, The Reverend Patrick Rolton, discussed the idea of renovating the Bothy to provide a Parish meeting place adjacent to the Church. Sadly, as funds were lacking, the idea was put on hold. However, this didn’t stop various groups from carrying out some DIY over the years in an attempt to make the building usable. The nearest they got to the dream of a kitchen and toilets was a power source from the church so that a kettle could be boiled for refreshments and a camping-style chemical toilet installed in a partitioned area. It did mean, though, that there was somewhere for the PCC and the Sunday School to meet and a place for the Youth Group’s snooker and ping pong tables. It was the start of better things to come.

Fundraising through the collection and selling-on of waste newspaper for recycling, together with a generous donation from a church member, meant that refurbishment of the roof could begin, and the floor area was dug up ready for concreting.

With a Bothy Project Committee appointed, Listed Buildings Consent granted, and the sale of the church hall completed, building work finally commenced on 27th October 1997. There was much excitement and we all watched in eagerness as the work progressed. Finally, on 22nd April 1998, the dream became reality and our beautiful Bothy was officially handed over by the building contractor. Then on 30th October 1998, the building was dedicated by The Lord Bishop of Rochester The Right Reverend Michael Nazir Ali.

After 20 years, the Bothy has continued to fulfil its promise. Not only does it serve the needs of the church, but it also provides a wonderful venue for clubs, meetings and small parties. If you are interested in hiring the building, please contact Wilma Ingleson-Cook (Tel: 020 8302 5524).

As you walk into the Bothy you will see a small brass plaque on the wall. Its inscription reads ‘The Bothy – Restored by the Parishioners of St James North Cray, inspired by The Reverend Patrick Hugh Rolton, Rector 1981-1997.’ It serves as a constant reminder to us all that by working together dreams do come true. Now, for that Church steeple…

Maxine & Suzy, Church Wardens

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