Restoration work begins

The work has started at St Nicholas and we are thrilled to welcome Croft as our contractor. They have already made very exciting progress in the first few days of being on site. The floors are being levelled and the archways dismantled, under the watchful eye of the archaeological team, and they are doing a stunning job !

Update on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 10:10AM
Three more photos have been added to the slideshow, including the start of a hidden spiral staircase in the tower!

Update on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 02:31PM
4 more new photos from the last fortnight added

Update on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 07:09AM
Another 3 photos added this week

Website Upgrade

We are pleased to announce that the website has been move to a new, and hopefully more stable, location.

In the process we have also upgraded some of the features. If you have any issues following the move, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Bulletin No 21

Dear friends,

It is now almost exactly 4 years since the fire, and this is news you have all been waiting for !

I am delighted to tell you that we have today been able to issue a letter of intent, appointing a contractor to start work on the church.

The tenders that came back in January were all above the budget set, and so we have had an interesting time, reducing costs and altering the specifications. As a result we have omitted a number of items that can be added back into the job at a later date, should we be able to make further savings or find extra funding.

But the good news is that work will begin, and the contractor is being invited to start work on April 16th – once the Easter break is over.

I can’t begin to tell you what a relief this is – it has been such a struggle to get over the various hurdles that have been put in our way, and I am sure that once work begins, and the church begins to take shape, there will be a growing excitement and anticipation around the village.

The appointed contractor is Croft Building & Conservation, based in Cannock, who are just completing a major work on Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. They have great experience in restoring heritage buildings and have worked with some members of our design team already. We are very confident that they will produce some top quality work for us, and we are really looking forward to them arriving on site.

It seems appropriate that they arrive just after Easter – a time in the Church’s year of celebrating new life and hope. It’s a time of emerging and discovery, a time when the pain and confusion of the cross is replaced by the healing and clarity of resurrection. It’s when new life takes shape, and the construction work at the church can be modelled in our own lives of faith. So please do feel free to join us in our Easter celebrations, and please continue to pray for the work of restoration in our church and village.

Easter Services
April 1st : 10.00am Palm Sunday Quality Time
A short service for all the family to celebrate Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem

April 6th : 10.00am Good Friday Family Service
A service to remember the events of the first Good Friday, followed by Hot Cross Buns ! (For those who want to trek across to Bishops Itchington after this, The Pilgrim Puppets are at St Michael’s church at 11.00am too)

April 8th : 9.30am Easter Day Celebration

April 29th : 4.00pm Village Songs of Praise


Bulletin No 20

December 6th : Well, it’s St Nicholas Day, and we have an early Christmas present !

An email has arrived today from the Chancellor of the Diocese granting us the Faculty we need to start the restoration work ! It carries some further directions and qualifications, but we can at long last look forward to work starting early in the new year.

I can’t express the relief I feel that at last we can begin to move forward, and please may I say another “thank-you” to all who have helped to get us this far, and for the community’s patience. It feels we have turned a huge corner today.

What a lovely touch too that it comes on our St Nicholas’ Day, remembering an ancient Bishop who is best known for his unexpected gifts to those in need around him.

I saw an extraordinary advert recently ! It was for Disneyland Paris, and the suggestion was that a trip there would make an ideal Christmas present. I couldn’t quite believe it, not because Disneyland isn’t a fun place to go (unless you hate queuing and it’s in France in December!), but because we are already being told that this Christmas is going to be a miserable one due of the recession.

We have heard people bewailing the fact that they won’t be able to afford to get the children what they want (or what they expect) this year, and see retailers in permanent sale mode.

So the suggestion of a holiday at Disneyland as an ideal gift is perhaps a little odd. In fact it’s the first time I think I’ve ever seen a holiday being suggested as a Christmas present. Maybe it’s an attempt to suggest to people that it really isn’t that bad, and all this talk about recession is over-dramatised. I wonder how long the advert will run …

The statements above remind us of what Christmas has become for many people – a chance to spend a lot of money. That’s why we seem to be being prepared for lots of disappointment from families who didn’t get what they want, and from retailers who found people didn’t shop until they dropped.

It’s true that part of Christmas is about celebrating with families and exchanging gifts. After all, there were angelic celebrations the night Jesus was born, and the wise men brought him valuable gifts …

But an important part of our Christmas celebration is who Jesus was and why Jesus came. The carols we sing are full of this wonderful news.

Our celebrations are not just about seeing family, buying presents, eating well, and watching James Bond – though all these things are great fun ! Christmas is about celebrating the birth of the one person who can really make a difference in our lives – clearing away the rubbish that lies there, and giving us a fresh start.

Why ? Simply because God loves you.

May I wish you a very happy Christmas, and a new year filled with hope and new beginnings.

Rev Martin Green

Immanuel’s Ground Concert

Warwick based Quire, Immanuel’s Ground, will be performing at the Radford Semele Church Hall on Saturday 3rd December at 7:30pm. The concert is in aid of the Restoration Fund.

Tickets are priced at £7, and are available from James Fleurty Tel: 01926 315 003.

The Concert is entitled “The Turning Year”, and will feature not only Christmas music of the period 1725 – 1860, much of it from church composers local to Warwickshire, but also takes a look at other church and secular compositions relating to the changing seasons and country customs. These are supported by Readings and anecdotes from a variety of authors and other sources.

The Concert affords another chance this year to bring out the group’s Mummers play, specially created using material and characters from such existing local scripts as those to be found at Pillerton and Ilmington in Warwickshire, Sulgrave in Northants and Lower Heyford in Oxfordshire.

Immanuel’s Ground is Warwick’s West Gallery costumed Quire, singing music from roughly the period 1725 – 1850. This includes not only the sacred music sung in rural parish churches but also secular part-songs, glees and catches and the popular music of the period. The Quire is accompained by a smallnumber of instructments as would have been found in any village band of the time.

Download the Immanuel’s Ground newsletter covering the concert.

For more information on Immanuel’s Ground, please visit their website at

Bulletin No 18

Dear Friends


First may I thank you all so much for the support you have given for the Out of the Blue Festival last month. It looks at the moment as if we have topped £9,300 towards the Restoration Project as a result of the week weekend, but more importantly, it was great fun to gather together as a wider community for a weekend of great events! Even sitting in a chair getting wet sponges thrown at me did not dampen the warm and positive atmosphere of the Saturday afternoon, with the schools’ performances, the puppets and the many and vaired activities that made up that Family Fun afternoon.

The Friday evening with Adrian Plass had us rolling with laughter and the Saturday evening was a concert with high quality, uplifting music. Sunday’s service drew over 200 people from around the area to enjoy the puppets and the Bishop, and a few stayed afterwards to enjoy a picnic.

All in the all, it was a great success, and people are already asking whether we can do it again !

May I say a personal thank you to all those who participated in any way, especially to the small team of people who helped oragnise it. But most of all to Chris and Avril and the team at the Exhibition Centre who gave us the weekend to use, and who worked so patiently and helpfully with us throughout the weekend. We are extremely grateful to them – and what a great venue it is, right on our doorstep!

Plans with Coventry Diocese
You will also be delighted to know that we have finally been able to submit all the detailed plans to the Church authorities in Coventry for final approval. They meet in July to discuss the plans, and we hope to have a decision from them fairly quickly. Once the formal approval is received, we will have to display it at the church for 28 days, and then the plans will be put out to tender to various heritage-approved contractors. And then … then we will get a contractor on site !!!

I know it has been a long haul, and thank you for your patience, but we are nearly there in terms of getting the work actually started. As there is a year’s worth of building to be done, I am pressing the Church authorities to move swiftly so we can get started, with an aim to have it open for Christmas 2012. I am hoping they take this on board, and that nothing else holds us up.

Church Open Day: August 13th (12-4pm)
The final piece of news is that before the contractors arrive, we will have an open day at the church. Earlier this month, we took years 5/6 from the school into the church room, showing them what was left and then looking inside the ruined church. It occurred to us that hardly anyone in the village will have been able to do this. So we will aim to open the church and church room on Saturday August 13th from 12:00-4:00pm, lay out some of the items that have been salvaged for people to look at, and then offer brief and helmet-ed trips into the building. It might be a good way to raise a little more towards the Restoration Fund, so we may have a small entrance charge, but I hope that won’t put anyone off coming.

Out of the Blue Family Festival, June 17th-19th

The Out of the Blue Family Festival is a weekend event organised in part to raise money for the restoration of St Nicholas Church in Radford Semele. It will take place at The Warwickshire Exhibition Centre on the Fosse Way.

On Friday, well known humorous Christian writer and speaker, Adrian Plass will be starting the weekend festival in grand and entertaining style, with “An Evening with Adrian Plass”.

On Saturday, there will be a Family Fun Day from 12-noon, with Archery, Bouncy Castle, Alpacas, Games & Activities, Pony Rides, Arts & Crafts, Wandering Magic, Hog Roast, Ice-Creams and Cakes ! There will also be an Open Stage for School Performances, A Top Gear Challenge and much, much more! From 7pm on Saturday, there will be a Concert for Brass and Voice.

On Sunday there will be a Deanery Festival Service at 10:30am.

For more information about the event, including ticket prices and where to purchase tickets, please see the above for Adrian Plass, and here for Saturday and Sunday.

Latest Hinckley Search Society Fundraising Event

On Sunday 13th March, the Hinckley Search Society had another metal detecting event, in aid of the St Nicholas Restoration Fund.

The Hinckley Search Society have now hit £1600 raised for the church. Congratulations to all members of the society !

Mark Pickles, Hinckley Search Society committee member, hands over £280 to Don Simpson

Mark Pickles, Hinckley Search Society committee member, hands over £280.00 to Don Simpson.

The Society has more events planned for later on in the year.

Photo courtesy of W Burton

Bulletin No 17

Dear Friends

At last, some good news !

At the end of January, we heard that we have been granted planning permission – so we can at last go ahead to the next stage of preparing the tenders. The delay awaiting this decision will mean that our projected start date is put back, but we are still hopeful that we might be able to get contractors on site later this year, if we have no more delays.

The building team have now met with all the design consultants again to start this detailed preparation process, and we are keeping in close touch with the Diocesan authorities who will be giving the final official permissions, called a Faculty, so that our work dovetails with their meeting schedule. Please keep praying that this process goes smoothly. We want to get the contractors here as soon as possible now.

In the meantime, some of you may have heard about a fund-raising Out of the Blue “festival” being organised this summer at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre on the Fosse Way on June 17th-19th. An exciting programme is taking shape for the weekend, and the Saturday afternoon is planned to be a family fun event ! We are hoping to have all kinds of sideshows and games and activities that we can all enjoy, and raise some money for the restoration project while having lots of fun !

We already have the Warwickshire Archer and some creative art workshops booked, and the delight of cream teas, but we need lots of sideshow games and activities. So if you would like to be involved and could offer to provide and run a simple activity, please get in touch by returning the slip at the bottom of this bulletin. And if you aren’t able to be involved, do book the dates and come along. The weekend is a gift from the Exhibition Centre to help us raise money for the church project, so let’s make the most of it.

And finally, a reminder for the forthcoming concert :

At ST. MARKS CHURCH, Rugby Rd, Milverton, Leamington Spa
Friday 18th March @ 7.30pm

It will be a memorable evening of fantastic and varied music that will move and enchant you.

Tickets now available £11, £10 conc, £5 under 16
from: Don Simpson (01926 426652) or the Post Office, Radford Semele

All proceeds will go to St. Nicholas Church Restoration Fund

Hinckley Search Society Event

The Hinckley Search Society held a metal detecting event on Sunday 6th March.

Wayne Burton (commitee member) was pleased, on behalf of the society members and guests, to hand over the proceeds from the event to Don Simpson.

The event raised £230 for the St Nicholas Restoration Fund.

The society has another event planned for 13th March.

Wayne Burton handing over proceeds of the day to Don Simpson.

Photo courtesy of W Burton.