Help raise £90,000 to save Rosedale Abbey Church

by Handymag

Up to 30 Rosedale Abbey residents will exhibit their wedding dresses this month for a 9 day, fundraising festival. The little village in the middle of the North York Moors needs to raise at least £90,000 to save its church from closure.

The show will be a vintage and modern mix. One dress dates from the 1930s and another is a replica of the dress the Duchess of Kent wore on her wedding day in York in the 1960s.

Resident Linda Blackburne, one of the organisers, said: “We put out a request for dresses on Facebook and we’ve had a fantastic response. We hope to show up to 30 dresses and possibly one groom’s uniform – although the men have been a bit slow in coming forward with their wedding day attire. Supporters of the Save Rosedale Church campaign have been climbing into lofts to find old suitcases of wedding dresses which haven’t been looked at for years. It’s going to be a really fun, nostalgic event!”

The church will be decorated with flowers and the dresses will be accompanied by descriptions and stories. There will also be a display of wedding photographs from the Rosedale History Society archive and a display of the history of wedding flowers.

Entry to the festival will be free but visitors will be encouraged to make donations.

A Renewal of Vows service on 2nd June at 10.30am will be led by the Vicar, Father Bill, for couples who want to bless their marriage and rekindle their love towards each other.

The roof of the 180-year-old St Mary and St Lawrence Church must be completely replaced because of rotten timbers. Rafters, slates, beam ends, wall plates, roof battens and leadwork all need replacing and a leaning turret needs straightening. More damage might be revealed when the roof is opened up. The old church is steeped in history; built on the site of a nuns’ Cistercian priory which was founded in Rosedale in 1154. Parts of the priory are still on view in the church today – two huge, ogival window heads; a decaying window in the vestry; the stern warning ‘Omnia Vanitas’ (all is vanity) above the north door and a stone chair in the sanctuary. Outside is the ancient stair turret and a stone coffin.

Last year the residents raised £4,813 at a flower festival. So far, they have raised £22,798 and hope to attract grants to help them reach the £90,000 target.

This year’s festival will be a cross-community effort with help from Pickering Flower Club and the loan of mannequins from Ryedale Folk Museum in Hutton-le-Hole and Thirsk Church.

The festival opens with a preview evening at 6pm on 24th May and entertainment by the Northern Ryedale Singers followed by the exhibition of dresses from 25th May to 2nd June at
Rosedale Abbey church.

For more information please contact The Revd David Haddon-Reece, Chair of the Save Rosedale Church Committee or Linda Blackburne, Festival Organiser: 01751 417833 or

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