I came along to Leigh tower to ring for the switching-on of the Christmas lights on 24th November 2017. It’s a big occasion with a parade (which I was in a few years ago as a bellydancer!), stalls, all the shops open and giving out mince pies and drinks, some rides for the kids, lots of fun.
The church was open with lots of craft and food stalls inside the main body of the church, and a welcoming Santa at the door.
All the lights shining through the stained glass windows looked so beautiful, lovely to see illuminated in the darkness.
There were a full 8 of us to ring, we rang for about half an hour.
I visited this church and took the photos in November 2017, when I was a volunteer Steward at the Southend Music Festival, which is held here.
This was my first visit with photos, but I have been to this church before on many occasions.
For most of my life, I lived just down the road from here and I attended a few concerts. One sticks out in my mind, it was Welsh harpist Osian Ellis giving a recital. I also sang here, both with the Southend Choral Society, and with the Southend Tech College music department choir. I can’t remember what was on the programme though . . .
And 30 years ago when my kids were small, the two younger ones went to Playschool here. There is still a Playschool here.
Until a few years ago it was a large and beautiful church inside with pillars, gallery and pews etc but it was done up and the interior space was greatly reduced (must be much cheaper to run and less intimidating perhaps for the congregation. Also part of the building behind the altar was sold off and made into flats.
But when I sang there in the 1970s there was a maze of rooms at the back, lots of small rooms and at least one large one.
There is still a beautiful stained glass window.
There is now a foyer with a cafe at the entrance to the auditorium.
For most of my life it was called Crowstone St George’s church, but has recently changed its name to Kings Road United Reformed Church.
Our second visit to this church was just a quick walk round the outside on a very blustery October day, after celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday with lunch at the Old Windmill in South Hanningfield.
I visited this church on 16th September for an EACR District Meeting, with ringing followed by a service and then tea.
It was a beautiful day, sunny but with rain clouds amassing in the distance, making a wonderful contrast between the bright church and grounds and the dark sky.
The church has a ground floor ring of 6 bells, of which the treble and #2 are very flat (and the #2 is a quarter tone higher in pitch than the treble) and the #3 is slightly flat. Long draught, and the treble ringer is squashed up against the a cupboard!
Lovely situation at the end of the long High Street in Wakering with some old cottages surrounding it.
Downham church is on a hill overlooking Essex, with fields all round. It was a beautiful bright sunny day when we visited it on 13th August 2017, and a christening was just finishing. Because of this we didn’t go inside, as there were still lots of people around and inside the church enjoying their celebrations.
It has a sturdy red-brick tower with navy diapering.