Film ID:
NEFA 22039



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Tyne Tees Television filmed news item about a petition raised against the vicar at Aycliffe and his method of raising finance for the local church, originally broadcast on Northern Life on 20 September 1976. Anne Avery reports.

Reporter Anne Avery piece to camera in front of the 12th century church in Aycliffe Village. She explains that a row has erupted over the last 6 weeks that is splitting the village in two. The Bishop of Durham will attend a meeting in the village to discuss a petition signed by more than 100 people against their vicar, Mervyn Shorehouse. The villagers claim the vicar has been high-handed with church finance since he arrived. He introduced ‘planned giving’ where each parishioner was given an envelope and asked to contribute a certain amount. To launch the scheme he gave a dinner party in Darlington, which didn't please the owners of local hostelries very much.

Various general views of the church follow.

Avery piece to camera standing at the village green. She comments that at a meeting of the village council, half the council walked out in disgust and the treasurer resigned. The council hasn’t met since. The church choir and the Mothers Union have both been disbanded. Some church goers have been boycotting the services and going elsewhere on Sundays.

General view of The County pub on the village green, and the quite deserted village. In voice-over, Avery says that the village that split into two factions is keeping silent about the matter. She calls at the home of the vicar. The vicar answers the door. She is invited in but the cameraman is not.

In voice-over, Avery observes that all parishioners approached refused to say anything, but one woman claimed most people who had signed the petition hadn’t been to church in their lives.