AT the start of 2020 there were grand plans at St Thomas of Canterbury Church, Goring, to celebrate the anniversary of its patron saint.

It is 850 years since his murder, on 29 December 1170 and 800 years since his body was moved on 7 July from a tomb in the crypt of the cathedral into a glittering shrine.

While many of the celebrations, including a pilgrimage to Canterbury, had to be postponed, a flower, textiles and history exhibition was a huge success. More than 350 people visited, £1,000 was raised and a donation made to the Wallingford Food Bank.

The GAP textiles group produced wall hangings on a pilgrimage theme, and the flower arrangers created colourful displays in celebration of Thomas Becket’s life. There was also a small exhibition about the history of the church in medieval times.

Precautions were in place to stop the spread of the COVID-19, with stewards outside taking names of visitors, and people encouraged to stay socially distanced as they enjoyed the exhibits.

Plainchant, (simple, traditional Christian chanting dating back to the 13th century) played as visitors discovered more about the life of the saint to which the village church is dedicated.

On December 29th there will be a contemplative service, with music and readings, to reflect on the life and death of St Thomas. It is hoped that the postponed pilgrimage to Canterbury will take place next year.

Below are a series of photographs from the exhibition, taken by Ron Bridle.