5K runners do their part to raise money for Claverley Church

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

About 50 runners and walkers took part in the Claverley Bells 5K race on Sunday, 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 organizer Johny Round, 38, said: “Growing up at Claverley was really special to me. We had the scouts and so many things, there are still many community events.

“I wanted to give back, contribute to that, help organize events for the community and help make it such a safe and lovely place.”

He thanks his wife, Lucy, for orchestrating the creation of the event. She joined 10 Marshals to provide the administrative engine room without which such events do not occur.

Anthony Jones participates

The race is expected to fetch over £1,700, about the same as last year when there were more runners. A donation will also be given to the town hall.

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

Eight-year-old Arthur Jarvis 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, 12, from Claverley uses a prosthetic blade after part of her right foot was amputated when she was born with hemimelia of the fibula. The youngster, who attends Oldbury Wells School, finished the hilly off-road race in 30:09.

Macey hand

The name Claverley Bells comes from Mr Round’s grandfather, Peter Whitby, who was a churchwarden and owned a bell.

The bell was returned to Mr Round by a local woman, Gloria Swash, who was delighted to come full circle and return the bell to family hands. It was used on Sundays as a tower bell to tell runners that they only had to go around the church to finish the race.

Mr Round is the theater manager at Wolverley Secondary School, near Kidderminster, and organized the first Claverley Bells last year. He hopes to make this a much bigger event over time to help Claverley Church Friends respond to any urgent fundraising appeals from the parish church board, which is 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 dates back to 675 AD – for 11 years. And he says there is a lot of work in the pipeline for the church which is built from Shropshire sandstone and is prone to crumbling.

Claverley Bells 5K

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

“The most urgent work is the heating system, which could last a few more winters but could be packed before then,” Reverend Ward said.

“We have a cloth fund but people like to see how their money is used so we haven’t accumulated a lot. When there is a crisis people are very generous,” he added.

A lottery app is also in the works.

The church is also on the route of many visitors, in part because of its unique medieval wall paintings, dating from 1220, which are said to contain the only image of Roland, Charlemagne’s chief knight.

Medals for participants

“It’s great to have this support,” said retired Ian Fallon, who has been involved with the Friends of Claverley church for 53 years.

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

Jerry B. Hatch