About the Friends

The Friends group came into existence in September 2000 when it became apparent that the owners had long been anxious to find a local person to promote a programme of voluntary activity which would restore some of the respect which the historic structure and its setting deserve.

John Chance of nearby Sawtry, but a Wood Walton man by birth, volunteered his services as "convener", and set to work devising an informal organisation to deliver some much needed care and attention to the churchyard and the interior of the church.

The Objectives of The Friends of St Andrew's Church Wood Walton are:

  • To assist the Friends of Friendless Churches in improving and maintaining St Andrew's Church to a safe condition to enable controlled public access.
  • To improve and maintain the Churchyard.
  • To widen interest and support for the Church both within the local community and the wider area.

Ownership and responsibilities

The church is the long lease responsibility of the charity The Friends of Friendless Churches. The churchyard, which is still open for interments, remains in the ownership of the Church of England.

Friends' work in the churchyard and church

A survey of the churchyard was quickly undertaken and a restoration plan, which identified the scrub to be removed, was presented to and approved by The Venerable John Beer, Archdeacon of Huntingdon on 15th November 2000.

Work began on 23rd November 2000 since when the church has been cleared of scrub which was enveloping and damaging the building and was spreading across the churchyard. Most of the work was done by hand but a blackthorn thicket on the unburied south western corner of the churchyard was removed by with the help of a JCB and driver kindly supplied by AgReserves Ltd of Manor Farm, Wood Walton. Removed scrub was stored, then burnt in the south western corner of the churchyard.

When post Christmas snow prevented outside work the Friends' efforts were concentrated on cleaning out the worst of the debris and dirt from inside the building. By working in short sessions the initial clean up was eventually completed by mid January. Loose wall and floor tiles and other displaced pieces of masonry were salvaged and safely stored, it is to be hoped for re-fixing. In the period to mid January 2001 ten Friends had volunteered their skills and equipment to the Group's activities and between them have collectively contributed in excess of 180 man-hours of labour to the cause.