John Harper training for London MarathonMany of you will remember with affection our former Vicar, John Harper.

You may also remember his passion for running.

I've had an amazing message from John (see below) telling me that he is hoping to run the London Marathon to raise money for Christian Aid.

He needs to raise at least £2,000 in sponsorship, so please do what you can to help him, either by making a donation, or simply by spreading the word.

"This may be  a little crazy now I’ve reached my 8th decade, but I’m excited at the prospect of joining  the Christian Aid team running the London Marathon in April. 2018, with the aim of raising at least £2000. This is a charity close to my heart and I thought I would  take on the challenge to raise £2000  by getting my legs working round the London sights along with the other 30,000 idiots!

I realise that my fundraising task is quite a challenge, so I would really appreciate your help in spreading the word as much as you can, as publicity is key to attracting sponsorship donations. Christian Aid makes such good use of funds raised. For example, £8 will provide a new pair of boots to protect a Syrian child refugee through the winter;  £20  - a deliver kit with everything  a Kenyan mother and baby need to survive in the critical 24 hours after birth; £25 – a life-saving  temporary shelter, food and clean water kit for families devastated by conflict in South Sudan. And all is provided in the service of the Servant King.

If you would kindly  consider donating online my ‘Just Giving’ page can be found at:

 -or else texting  £1,2,3,4,5 or £10 to 70070 with the code HGVA53.  I will also be glad to provide the more conventional sponsorship sheets if preferred. In each of these ways if donors are also taxpayers gifts can be Gift Aided, which means an extra 25% goes straight to Christian Aid.
I would also be grateful  if you would consider ‘liking’ or sharing this.
 I also have a Facebook page which I will update with my  training progress – or otherwise!

Many thanks for any support you can give,
John Harper (Rev) voluntary speaker in Cambs"

Date: 21st January 2018

Source: Stephen Lines

Heritage Lottery FundThanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund Development Grant, we have finally been able to take the first visible step in the long-awaited restoration of Shefford's oldest structure - St Michael's tower.

This massive project needs careful, considered and detailed planning, so a scaffold has been erected on the west face of the tower to allow loose masonry to be removed and emergency patching to be carried out as necessary.

West face of St Michael's tower shrouded in scaffoldingThe scaffold will also give access for a survey by our architect and stonemason, allowing them to produce a detailed plan and costings for the full restoration.

This is just the first phase, and is likely to result in things actually looking worse for a while.

The scaffold will only be there for a short time though - the full restoration will follow later, once the planning, costing, and funding have been confirmed, but we are looking to have the tower fully restored by late summer/autumn 2018.

Your prayers and continued support will be most gratefully received over the coming months...

Diary Date!

On Saturday 10th June we will have a display of information about the tower restoration as part of the annual Shefford Prince and Princess event. Everyone is welcome to come along - 11am - 1pm - for lots of fun events (including a free teddy bear zip wire - bring your brave bears!), and to find out how this challenging and exciting project has become a catalyst to finding opportunities to open our church even wider, and to shape the future Shefford as a heritage venue.

Date: 7th June 2017

Source: Webmaster

In March, St Michael and All Angel’s Church received the wonderful news that the Heritage Lottery Fund are supporting the development phase of a project to restore St Michael and All Angels’ historic tower with a £19,300 grant.

St Michael’s would also like to thank the residents of Shefford for their generous support for the project so far.

If all goes to plan, the tower should be restored by late summer/autumn 2018, provided the application for full grant funding which will follow the development phase, goes through.

St Michael's Tower with Safety FencingTwo months on, and work is about to start on the development phase. Tuesday 6th June should see a scaffold erected against the west face of the tower to allow loose masonry to be removed and emergency patching to be carried out as necessary.

The scaffold will also give access for a survey by our architect and stonemason, allowing them to produce a detailed plan and costings for the full restoration.

This is likely to leave some areas of the render patched and somewhat unsightly; we will still be a long way from the finished article!

The Heritage Lottery money will go a long way but the church still needs the community’s help – financially and in other ways too, so that St Michael’s can continue to serve and contribute to the life of our community.

Find Out More...

On Saturday 10th June we are hosting the Shefford Prince & Princess event.

We will have a display of information about the tower restoration so that you can find out more about the project.

We will also be running the Teddy Bear Zip Wire which we have decided to make a free event this time, as a small "thank you" to everyone in Shefford. Bring your bear (if it's brave enough).

The Shefford History Society will also be launching a new book about the history of Shefford - all profits are generously being donated to the tower fund.

See you there!!

Date: 4th June 2017

Source: Patricia Goulding

Heritage Lottery Fund Lottery FundedSt Michael and All Angels Church, Shefford has received initial support* and a grant of £19,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards development work on a project to restore its historic tower, currently obscured by safety fencing and scaffolding to protect the public.

St Michael’s will then be able to apply for a full grant of £220,900, made possible by National Lottery players, to complete the project. The restoration will involve the removal and replacement of the render and stone trim (stringers) on the tower’s belfry.

Some time ago render, and lumps of stone trim began falling from the tower. Investigations revealed that moisture being retained in the walls of the upper section of the tower was the primary cause of the problem.

Further inspection and research discovered that when repairs to the belfry were undertaken in the 1980’s, a sand and cement grout was injected in an attempt to stabilise the upper tower structure.

The cement grout has prevented the stonework from breathing, trapping moisture which has caused the render to crack and fall.

The stone trim is made of 'Clunch' - a soft and easily eroded form of limestone. The sections that have fallen are simply showing their age, and will need to be replaced.

Planned activities, associated with the project, include the publication of a booklet about the history of the church, a similar children’s booklet and quiz, and a leaflet for a heritage walking trail starting from the church, giving directions and information about the historic buildings of Shefford.

St Michael’s is situated in Shefford High Street and is also next to a busy pathway.  The church is open 7 days a week and is used by a wide section of the community for a variety of activities.

The Rector, the Revd Veronica Goodman said: “Restoration and repair of the tower, allowing the removal of the scaffolding will give pedestrians safe unrestricted access to the footpath and greatly enhance the appearance of St Michael and All Angels and the centre of this bustling market town in Central Bedfordshire. St Michael’s is well used by the church and community and we are excited about preserving this well-loved historic landmark for generations to come. We are delighted and so encouraged to receive this award from the National Lottery.”

About the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

*Grants for Places of Worship applications are assessed in two rounds.  A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding.  A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project.  Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.

Thanks to National Lottery players, they invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.

You can visit their website at and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using
#National Lottery.

Date: 29th March 2017

Source: Jennifer Forrester

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded £2,000 of funding by the Gale Family Charity Trust to help with the restoration and repair of our tower.

The trust, which was set up by Horace, Marjorie and Ronald Gale, focuses its awards in Bedford and Central Bedfordshire, and actively supports:

  • General charitable purposes
  • Religious activities
  • Education/training

They also offer support to:

  • Children/young people
  • Other charities or voluntary bodies
  • Elderly/old people
  • People with disabilities

If you would like to support them in their work, you can visit their Total Giving page here .

Date: 6th March 2017

Source: Patricia Goulding

Beds and Herts Historic Churches Trust LogoThe Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Historic Churches Trust has offered us a grant of £5,000 towards the cost of repairing and restoring our historic tower.

They also made an equally generous grant of £5,000 on behalf of the Wixamtree Trust, for whom they act as agents.

"Beds and Herts have a rich heritage of ancient buildings - and some impressive modern ones too - all of which need to be kept in good condition to allow them to function as places of worship and be an obvious Christian presence in our communities. A well maintained church makes a powerful statement to the world outside." 

This is not the first time that the Trust has helped us - they have previously contributed to the re-roofing of our nave, and they have also helped the Shefford Methodist Church with urgent repairs.

We have regularly supported the Trust in their annual "Bike & Hike" fundraising event, both as a venue for participants to call in for refreshment (and make use of our 'facilities'), and by our parish members raising sponsorship for cycling and our now famous 'Betty Push'.

Date: 8th March 2017

Source: Patricia Goulding