5K runners do their bit to raise funds for Claverley Church

Runners and walkers pounded the streets to help raise fund for repairs costing many thousands of pounds which are looming at an historic Shropshire church.

Ed Jarvis, Arthur Jarvis 5, Anthony Jones, back, and Henry Jarvis.
Ed Jarvis, Arthur Jarvis 5, Anthony Jones, back, and Henry Jarvis.

On Sunday some 50 runners and walkers took part in the Claverley Bells 5K race, which included a final lap of All Saints Church, which has been the site of a place of worship for at least 2,500 years.

Race organiser Johny Round, aged 38, said: "Growing up in Claverley was really special for me. We had the Scouts and so much going on, there are still many community events.

"I wanted to give back, to be a contributor to that, to help provide events for the community and help keep it such a safe and lovely place."

He credits his wife, Lucy, for masterminding the creation of the event. She joined 10 marshals in providing the administrative engine room without which such events don't happen.

Anthony Jones takes part

The race is expected to raise in excess of £1,700, which is about the same as last year, when there were more runners. A donation will also be given to the village hall.

The fastest male finisher was Ian Higgins in 17:52; Helen Dunnington was the fastest female at 25:36.

Arthur Jarvis, aged eight, was one of three generations of his family to cross the line together at 25:26, along with Ed and Henry Jarvis and Anthony Jones.

Macey Hand, aged 12, from Claverley uses a prosthetic blade after having part of her right foot amputated when she was born with fibula hemimelia. The youngster, who attends Oldbury Wells School, finished the undulating off-road race in 30:09.

Macey Hand

The name Claverley Bells comes from Mr Round's grandfather Peter Whitby, who used to be a churchwarden and owned a handbell.

The bell was returned to Mr Round from a local woman, Gloria Swash, who was delighted to complete the circle and get the handbell back into the hands of the family. It was used on Sunday as a lap bell to tell the runners that they only had to complete a circuit of the church to finish the race.

Mr Round is the head of drama at Wolverley Secondary School, near Kidderminster, and organised the first Claverley Bells last year. He hopes to make it a much bigger event over time to help the Friends of Claverley Church to respond to any urgent calls for funding that come from the Parochial Church Council, which is a part of the administration of the church.

Vicar Garry Ward has been in the pulpit of the church - which was built in 1070, with a tower that goes back to 675AD - for 11 years. And he says there is plenty of work in the pipeline for the church which is built from Shropshire sandstone and is prone to crumbling away.

Claverley Bells 5K

The wooden-beamed roof will need £20,000 of repairs, the heating system could set fundraisers back £20,0000£30,000 and the £40,000 organ will need replacing.

"The most urgent work is the heating system, which might last another few winters but could pack up before then," said the Rev Ward.

"We have a fabric fund but people like to see how their money is being used, so we don't have much built up. When there is a crisis, people are very generous," he added.

A Lottery application is also in the offing too.

The church is also on the route for many visitors partly because of its unique Medieval wall paintings, dating back to 1220, which are said to include the only image of Roland, the chief knight of Charlemagne.

Medals for the participants

"It is great to have this support," said retired Ian Fallon has been involved with the Friends of Claverley Church for 53 years.

The race is also backed by sponsorship from local companies CP Workwear, for the T-shirts, The Lux Co. in Bridgnorth, for the medals, and Wooden Luxury covered the running costs.

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