Church £600,000 facelift complete

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PARISHIONERS have had their prayers answered with the completion of a £600,000 refurbishment of their church.

Delighted members of Thornton Methodist Church have waited nine months for the transformation to be completed.

It includes a new prayer chapel, a stage area for performances and activities, better wheelchair access, under-floor heating and redecoration.

The Victoria Road East church was formed in 2007 following the amalgamation of two churches in Thornton.

One of the buildings was sold while the other – now Thornton Methodist Church – was kept for use.

Rev Mark Hammond said the church could not afford to modernise both buildings.

He said: “They were both grand Victorian buildings and it would have been too expensive to refurbish both so we sold one and put the proceeds towards this overhaul.

“We needed to modernise the building and create a space that can be used by the whole community.

“Our hope is community groups come in and use the facility as well as members of the church. We really want everyone in the area to benefit from this.”

In May last year members climbed a ‘stairway to heaven’ to raise money towards the work. They climbed the equivalent height of K2 – the world’s second highest mountain – using a ladder and a church spire.

Rev Hammond said it was one of many bizarre fund raising ideas that helped them reach their target.

He said: “I think that was our toughest challenge, K2 is a staggering 28, 218ft and it was completed at a rate of 1.6 times up a ladder per minute.

“We raised more than £900 which was a fantastic achievement. Some of the fundraisers were a bit different like our first ever black tie ball event at the Hilton Hotel and a sponsored bike ride around the Fylde Coast.

“But we also held the usual concerts, garden parties, raffles and quizzes and our puppeteers put on shows at Thornton Gala

“After all the hard work we are so happy to get back in our church, we have felt homeless for over nine months!”

The official opening was marked at the Sunday morning serivce with the Mayor and Mayoress of Wyre.