Grace and Mary
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Grace and Mary

This moving and thoughtful novel appears in a ChurchCare review as it makes a specific reference to St Mary's church, Wigton, that has had grants from ChurchCare. Melvin Bragg, or Lord Bragg of Wigton, was born in Wigton and is accurate and up to date with his references to the church there.

John makes regular visits to his ageing mother, Mary, in her nursing home by the sea. During a break on one of his visits he meets a vicar on the beach, where they have each sought solitude to smoke. The priest talks about the difficulties of fundraising and of his determination to be successful in securing the future of the church 'on his watch'. He has already raised funds for the roof, and his attention has now turned to the organ. John is sufficiently moved by his meeting to note 'Church Organ, £250?' when he gets back in the car.

Wigton has received two grants from ChurchCare. In 2008 for the roof from our scheme for church fabric repairs and in 2012 with a grant towards the restoration of the historic Harrison & Harrison organ.

Many other themes run through this book that will catch the interest of those who care for church buildings and who think about their wider use in the community. Even the new 'Millennium bells', cast by Taylors in 1998, get a mention, with a note that the volume is reduced due to objections about Sunday noise. Advice on responding to complaints about bell ringing is available on ChurchCare.

David Knight

Grace and Mary by Melvin Bragg is published by Sceptre, priced £18.99 hardback, £7.99 paperback.