£100K repair campaign for town’s historic church

Fr Michael Murphy says community help is vital to renovate St Mary's
Fr Michael Murphy says community help is vital to renovate St Mary's

A fund-raising campaign is under way to try and raise £100,000 to renovate Fleetwood’s second oldest surviving church.

St Mary’s RC Church on Lord Street will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2017 when a number of special activities will be staged.

After St Peter’s, it is Fleetwood’s second oldest surviving church

However, before that milestone is reached in two years’ time, a considerable amount of renovation is needed for the Victorian Gothic revivalist structure, designed by noted architect EW Pugin and completed in 1867.

Work which needs addressing includes a problem with damp in part of the alter (the aspe), the porch and the lady chapel, which will all need re-plastering and repainting.

Then there is the replacement of the lighting system in the church, as well as endeavours to protect the church’s magnificent stain glass windows, again the handiwork of a renowned Victorian craftsman, in this case John Hardman.

The church is owned by the Diocese of Lancaster, but each parish is responsible for handling its own budget.

And since the work that needs doing is too costly to be covered by the church funds, some serious fund-raising needs to be undertaken.

St Mary’s, with a congregation of around 200, has already staged a number of money-spinners, but parish priest Father Michael Murphy says the church would welcome any help from the wider community of Fleetwood.

Father Murphy, who hails from Fleetwood himself and whose maternal ancestors worshipped at the church, said: “St Mary’s is a little gem and restoring it is not only important for the parish of St Mary’s, but for the heritage of Fleetwood itself.

“After St Peter’s, it is Fleetwood’s second oldest surviving church.

“It is a haven for people from all denominations and we welcome people in to pray and sit in quiet contemplation.”

Indeed, the church is open seven days a week, from 8am to 6pm, for all to visit.

Anyone who wants to raise funds for the church or who has money-spinning ideas can contact Father Murphy on (01253) 873331.