Church members in celebratory mood

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Members of Brierfield Methodist Church are in celebratory mood and are holding two events at the Colne Road church over the weekend.

They were overjoyed when the Heritage Lottery Fund agreed to grant them a substantial sum of money to carry out urgent repairs to the building, which opened in 1861 and is now the oldest church in the town and Grade II listed.

A great deal of preparatory work establishing the church’s claim for a grant had to be completed before the physical work could start.

Church member Mrs Ann Dixon said: “The roof and rotten roof trusses have been completely renewed.

“The contractors had to scour the country to get enough slates to completely match the originals, even the wood for the trusses had to be the same.

“I think we qualified for the grant because the building is used by so many different community groups.

“We are pleased that this massive job has been carried out to everyone’s satisfaction.

“We are watertight at long last. No more buckets everywhere and so we thought it was a good time to celebrate.”

This first phase has cost about £250,000, of which the Heritage Lottery Fund will pay approximately 77%; the church has to find the rest.

Mrs Dixon said: “We are truly grateful to the fund. We could not have raised all the money ourselves.”

Anyone from the town, those who might now live elsewhere or whose family once worshipped at the church or even went to the day school are warmly welcomed to the two events looking at the church in the past, recent events surrounding renovations and the further work which needs to be done to preserve it for future generations.

Tomorrow the church will be open from 10am until 1pm. and on Sunday after morning worship from noon until 2pm.

And you do not have to dig into your purse for a cup of tea or coffee because “it is on the house” together with a selection of homemade cakes.

The Victorian church is one of the most prominent buildings in the centre of Brierfield and the original benefactors were the prominent mill owners, the Tunstill family.