Pymoor Methodist Chapel 1954 to 1974 by Annie Lark
It was way back in 1945 that the new Methodist Chapel in Pymoor was first talked about by Mr Harold Fletcher. The old chapel in Oxlode wanted a lot of repairing, both stoves needed renewing, windows wanted new panes of glass, but above all the lease had nearly run out. It belonged to the then Great Ouse Catchment Board who wanted to strengthen the bank along the river and they didn’t want to lease it out again. They were going along the river bank asking the people who lived there to move to Pymoor so that they could pull all the houses down. The people who were going to the chapel would all have to come from Pymoor so why not build a new chapel in the village where the people were? but the trustees said it couldn’t be done. The idea was talked about and at the next trustees meeting there was a long discussion on ways and means of raising money and where the chapel should be built. Quite a few places were thought of. Mr J W Pearson had a field at the top end of the village which was thought to be an ideal site. Messrs Hall, Cutlack and Harlock also had good sites. Mr F G Darby was also asked if he would sell a site to the chapel but all of them had other ideas! Then a dear old lady, Miss Fretwell from Little Downham said she would be pleased to let us have half an acre of her land as a gift to the chapel for which they were very grateful because they only had about £100 in the bank.
The next thing was where was the money coming from. Lots of ideas were put forward, garden fetes, bring and buy stalls and cake stalls.
Mrs Jane Fletcher had a bright idea, she arranged a tea for the village. We hadn’t a hall big enough for all to get in so we had it in a field. Quite a lot of people had made gifts and we had a stall to sell anything that was given. We had a wonderful day, the whole village turned out to help and give. I’m not sure what money was brought in that day but from then on the new Methodist Chapel was the topic of any conversation.
It was at another meeting that Hab (as Mr Fletcher was known to the village) asked why not ask the Steam Engine to join in with us as they also would have to make some other arrangements for their chapel but they declined. However, the village was all for having the new chapel where we hoped the people would come and join us and the children would be more able to come to Sunday School as most of them lived in the village.
Many were the prayers that were said, many were the hopes and fears of the few who still went across to the old chapel but nothing is worth having if we don’t work for it. Hab and I agreed to do some house to house collecting. We tried to go once a week to one of the outlying villages. We had some wonderful times and met lots of wonderful people. It got around that we were collecting and most of the places we went to we had a very good reception. They wanted to know what sort of place we were going to build, where it was going to be, how much it was going to cost , would it be worth our while to keep on collecting? but each week we went on our way. Some weeks we brought home quite a lot of money, some weeks not so much, but it all went into the bank and at the end of 1949 we had collected £1,000.
It was while we were collecting in Hilgay we had our first encounter with the police. We called at a house not knowing who lived there, a policeman opened the door, “Who are you? Where do you come from? Have you got anything to prove who you are? Did we know we should have police permission to collect? He was not angry but just told us for for our own good and gave us £5. We were collecting in Landbeach when another policeman with a man to whose house we had just called also wanted to know who, why and where? but by this time we had all the answers and police permission. They let us have one month in each village which gave us time to go round the villages. We met a gentleman in Nordelph who was picking pears, he gave us one penny and a basket of pears but we were not to sell them in Nordelph. We sold all the pears and made quite a bit of money from them. The next week we found him at home, by then he had found out that we were genuine so he gave us £10. We met a dear old lady in a back street, she said that she was so pleased to hear we were building a new chapel and she gave us ten shillings in the name of the Lord and in the name of the Lord we received it. Her faith was very strong, she made us feel very humble. I’ll never forget that dear old lady. In Upwell Mr Hunter Rowe offered one penny and said that we wouldn’t accept it. We said we would and took the penny, he then went into the house and returned with a cheque for £100.
We met so many really nice people in all the places we went to and it would take too long to tell all the stories we heard and all the things we saw but each week we came home and we thanked God for all his mercies both large and small.
All this time Mrs Fletcher (Aunt Jane) had been working in her own way. She arranged garden fetes, bring and buy stalls, cake stalls, sausage suppers and all sorts of things in the village to help raise money for the chapel as well as looking after my son Graham whilst Hab and I were collecting around the villages. We had quite a lot of trustees meetings around that time mostly one a month. It was decided to ask the minister Rev. F. J May if he could get a grant from the Joseph Rank Trust to help us with expenses. At another meeting we discussed who should be the architect for the building. In our travels
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