When thieves stole four tonnes of lead from the roof of St Mary’s, Cratfield last December, the mood was one of despair. The cost of replacing the lead was thought to be around £40,000. How could such a tiny community raise such a sum? Selfishly, those of us at Concerts at Cratfield wondered if it would be possible to hold our 2016 season of concerts in the church which has hosted them with so much delight for so many years.
Yet on Sunday 24 April 2016, at a virtually sold-out special concert at The Cut, Halesworth, Don Peacock of St Mary’s PCC was able to announce that the repairs were nearing completion and, even more remarkably, that they had almost raised all the money required to pay for them.
How had this been achieved? How had the tragedy of the theft been turned into the triumph of the rescue?
First, as Don acknowledged, was the generosity of the village itself, which raised surprisingly large sums from a variety of local events. Second was the overwhelming contribution of supporters of Concerts at Cratfield, both individually and as an organisation. As one example, the same weekend saw an exhibition of woodcuts by the late Linda Holmes, one of the Founder Patrons of the concerts: click here for more details. This has already raised more than £4,000 for Cratfield.
Another example was the ‘Concert for Cratfield’ at The Cut. Half a dozen young musicians who know and love Cratfield and have played there many times offered their services free; The Cut had given us its superb auditorium free too, with invaluable support from Matthew Wetmore of Halesworth Arts Festival. The performers delighted an appreciative audience with thrilling interpretations of three masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire – a string trio by Beethoven, a string quintet by Mozart and Schumann’s piano quintet, which received a white-knuckle performance of verve and brio that left the packed house cheering. The cheers were for the performers but also for the generosity of all concerned – which has ensured the remarkable survival of a cherished institution.
The special concert made over £3000 towards the roof fund at St Mary’s Cratfield – from those at The Cut itself, whose generous donations at the end added £400, and from those unable to attend who nonetheless sent donations via our Box Office or directly to the PCC.