THE TRUE cost of the theft of money from the collection box at Stratford’s Guild Chapel is likely to be upwards of £1,000 – leading to an appeal for support.
Thieves struck on earlier this month, and while around £100 in cash donations was stolen – the true cost is likely to be significantly higher. The donation box – itself worth around £1,000 – will have to be removed, repaired and strengthened, meaning it will be out of action for up to a month or more.
And that means around £1,000 in donations which would otherwise have been dropped in the box will be lost – including over the Shakespeare Birthday Weekend when visitor numbers soared.
“We installed the collection box last year to replace a small donation slot which was largely hidden by the main Chapel doors,” said volunteer coordinator Pippa Brook.
“It has more than doubled the donations we receive which is fantastic – but we’re very aware that without public support, we stand to miss out on upwards of £1,000 in donations over the next month.
“It’s a real blow to our volunteer guides – it’s thanks to them that the huge number of visitors that come here are interested and engaged in the Chapel’s history and wall paintings and leave a donation as a result.”
Those volunteers will continue to be on hand to welcome and guide visitors on Tuesdays and Fridays and are appealing for donations and public support. Money can be safely put in the donation slot to the right of the doors on exit.
Every penny supports the chapel helping to keep it open and supporting the continuing conservation and exploration of its rare medieval wall paintings, with hopes of uncovering more hidden images soon.
With a history dating back to the 13th century, the chapel – offering free entry and open seven days a week – is one of the oldest and most significant historic buildings in Stratford.
The chapel’s medieval wall paintings are internationally significant. They were covered up on royal orders received by John Shakespeare, father of the playwright, in the 16th century post-reformation, and lay hidden for hundreds of years.
Visit www.guildchapel.org.uk for more information or to become a volunteer.