THE 600th anniversary of the Blanchminster Trust was celebrated with a commemorative service of thanksgiving in St Andrew’s Church, Stratton last Sunday (October 10).

The Blanchminster Trust is probably the oldest grant-giving charity in Britain, and gives grants for Education, Community and Needs within Stratton, Bude and Poughill.

Many millions of pounds have been given to support students at university, for major community projects, as well as much smaller grants for those in need. These have ranged, over the years, from help for a shipowner who lost all at sea, to smallpox vaccinations in Victorian times, to free Horlicks for schoolchildren between the wars.

The bells of St Andrew’s rang out to greet Bishop Hugh of St Germans to a joyous celebration, led by Rev Teresa Folland.

Owen May, Senior Stockwarden of the Blanchmister Trust gave a short, informative introduction on the history of the Trust.

Rev Folland mentioned the help the Church had received over the centuries – the North Aisle, stone for the altar, the bells, communion cup and plate, King James Bible, lighting and roofing…and the stocks, pillory and ducking stool….

The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall gave a short, well-researched valedictory and the Bishop delivered a very entertaining but thought-provoking sermon on the ‘four loves’ - based on 1 Corinthians 13.

Also present in the congregation were the High Sheriff of Cornwall, the Grand Bard of the Cornish Gorsedh, local headteachers, trustees and local parishioners.

Organist Daffyd Thomas added to the service with a brilliant improvisation on ‘Nun Danket’ as the congregation assembled for a magnificent tea, provided by the members of the Church.