Church Meeting agrees plans

Consultation takes place with the public

A new lightning conductor is installed

Plans are submitted and rejected

First Burns Night Supper

New colour scheme for church



Redecorating the inside

In 2009, whilst the scaffolding was inside the church as part of the work of replacing the roof, the opportunity was taken to experiment with a new colour scheme. The old is the top picture and the new is below it.  We have not decided on the final colour scheme (the interior building will need repainting after the refurbishment).


Church Meeting has agreed unanimously and with enthusiasm to the three major aspects of its future mission.

A working party of church members under the leadership of Ian Parkin undertook a major consultation with local groups seeking their views on the proposals for refurbishing the church. In all about 40 visits were made, some to the offices or the meetings of the voluntary organisations and relevant local government departments. A questionnaire was arranged by the Tourist Board for half-term visitors asking for their views on what the church might provide. Considerable support was given by Dawlish town councillors following a major presentation on the plans at their January meeting.

Ian Parkin described the results as "encouraging". It is clear that there is a warm endorsement of a quality building for community use in the centre of the town. Working party member Pam Mann said, "I am amazed at how delighted everyone has been at our plans. The support of those involved in the tourist industry has been overwhelming."

Consultations included four mornings of asking people on the street for their views. As an inducement for free tea and coffee and cake was offered to anyone who would have it. In all 450 questionnaires were completed.


Partnership with community trust
Church Meeting agreed that the Elders Meeting should explore setting up a community trust to lease the church building and to apply for large capital grants from government and EU funds. Assurances were given that this would not affect Sunday worship or the church’s use of the building for funerals, weddings and other meetings.

The Strand Community Trust has now been set up and local people are being recruited to be trustees.

Church Meeting agreed the challenge of raising £25,000 by Easter 2009 and were amused by ideas for fund raising, including a scheme to pay for bits of the refurbishment as Christmas presents, and a sponsored swim on Boxing Day by veteran June Wilson and novice Marie Whitehead. Church Meeting was encouraged when it learned that for every £1 we raise another £4 will be added by an anonymous benefactor, which will encourage everyone to do what they can between now and Easter. For further details click here.

The sum was raised by Easter and the donation of £100,000 was secured.

The colour scheme at the beginning of the year






Passersby completing questionnaires











Our new lightning conductor was fixed in mid-November. The photographs show the steeplejack at work.

Despite offers of sponsorship, no church person was prepared to climb to the top of the 200 foot spire.










Thirty people attended a Burns Night to enjoy real Scottish haggis. Roger Whitehead addressed the Haggis and proposed the Immortal Memory and Rychard Winslade humorously proposed to the toast to the lassies.

Rychard carries in the haggis


In September a formal application was made for planning permisison to alter the interior of the church. Under the Planning Acts, the URC Synods have delegated powers to judge internal alterations on the advice of its Listed Buildings Advisory Committee. Membership includes a number of Synod appointed architects and has to consult English Heritage, The Ancient Monument Society, the Victorian Society and the local planning authority.

The heritage consultees criticised the plans. particularly the extension and levelling of the gallery and erecting a glass screen in the front of the gallery to create soundproof spaces in it. They also said that the need to do the work had not been proved, there was not enough evidence of financial viability of the project, and not enough attention had been paid to the importance of the property as an example of the work of John Tarring, the architect.

On a majority vote the LBAC recommended refusal of the application and this was agreed by the Synod Property Committee which has the final say.

The church was devastated. The minister summed up the general feeling, "We are shocked that a proposal to make the church relevant to 21st century should be rejected out of hand. But we believe that God has called us to do this refurbishment, and we will work hard in 2010 to show that there is a need, we have a secure budget and glass screens work in many other churches."







































New interior colour