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The Trustees of Northumbria Historic Churches Trust are thrilled to share with you the news of a wonderful act of generosity by Bishop Alec Graham whom we very sadly lost in May 2021. Many reading this will have known Bishop Alec who became Bishop of Newcastle in 1981 and who retired to Cumbria in 1997. He was much loved in this region and more widely. We have been very touched to learn that we have been named as one of the four significant beneficiaries in Bishop Alec’s will. These are early days and we do not yet know the value of his estate, but it is a gift highlighting Bishop Alec’s great love for the Church in the North East. We give thanks for this act of generosity and we are deeply blessed. This gift from Bishop Alec will allow our work to continue.

Another significant beneficiary is the Newcastle Diocese which is making this announcement at the start of its Generosity Week. This creates the chance in that Diocese to recognise the spirit of generosity as we seek to serve our loving precious God and celebrate how being generous enables mission and ministry to flourish in all our communities.

It will take some time before funds are released to Northumbria Historic Churches Trust. This legacy is of such significance, making us one of the wealthiest regional Historic Churches Trusts, that we need to reassess the trustee skills, financial management plans and grant making budgets. No doubt that we shall be looking for new trustees to make the best use of this magnificent gift.

We invite you to keep abreast of developments through our website.

To enable us financially to support planned work on churches in our region we rely on generous individuals, parishes and grant making trusts. Over the years we have enjoyed magnificent support from the Sir James Knott Trust and, more recently, its sister charity Samares Investments Limited. This page has a link to enable individuals to donate by JustGiving. Another idea that might appeal to some is to consider leaving a legacy to support our grant making work.

“The Christian Heritage of the North East owes its character not just to the earliest growth of the Northumbrian Church, but to the energy of the Norman Conquest, the zeal of the powerful Catholic monastic orders of the Middle Ages, the Elizabethan Settlement and the strength of Anglicanism, backed later by the wealth of the Industrial Revolution. The variety of historic church building in the region is astonishing and there is a growing appreciation of their value alike to congregations, to the community and to visitors. Most churches and chapels are cared for at local level and many are now being adapted with a new sense of purpose for the benefit of wider community use. More than ever it is important that the fabric of these buildings should be repaired and maintained in good order.

Over many years we have had occasion to recommend to Church clients the support they might find in approaching NHCT for advice and grant. The Trust has been most helpful and even if their grant packages are relatively small the award is often appreciated as an encouraging endorsement. The policy of small but widely distributed grants makes that positive message clear. I see the Trust as a provider of accessible local support and a reassurance to carers that they are doing a responsible job. We hope the Trust prospers.”

Spence and Dower, Architects