In May 2009 the attractive walkway from the War Memorial to the church was carefully tended and the rather sad, bare interior of the church cleaned ahead of a well-publicised Open Day. More than 200 people descended upon the little church and £377 was raised for a seat in the churchyard.
The Friends of St Mary’s group was inaugurated and its first newsletter sent to its initial 60 members led to the first service in the church for 30 years - ‘Carols by Candlelight’ in early December when the church was packed out, lit by candles and electricity provided by a generator.
St Mary’s was becoming more widely known - open every weekend and more recently everyday with visitors arriving in increasing numbers including each Holy Week pilgrims stopping for rest and refreshments en route from Eseex to Walsingham for the Easter celebration.
The Friends of St Mary’s group has grown since then so that today it is involved in the church hosting a wide range of activities including music and arts festivals, concerts, valuation days and Holocaust memorial events. Its role in involving the whole community is reflected in the success of fund raising – particularly from the National Lottery Heritage Fund – to restore the church fabric. Today the church is in a better condition than for centuries and looks ahead with confidence.