Celebrations to mark new room opening at church

Veronica Thomson, PCC secretary, in the new community room at St Mary's Church in Longframlington.
Veronica Thomson, PCC secretary, in the new community room at St Mary's Church in Longframlington.

A special weekend of celebrations will be held at a north Northumberland church to mark the opening of its new community room.

The facility, at St Mary The Virgin church in Longframlington, comes on the back of years of fund-raising through the Opening Doors Project.

To celebrate the completion of the scheme, and as a way of thanking those who have contributed materially or by giving their time to the fund-raising efforts, the church is hosting an Autumn Flower Festival from September 14 to 16.

The theme of the event is Community Living and displays will represent many of the organisations and activities which take place in the village.

Veronica Thomson, secretary to St Mary’s Parochial Church Council (PCC) and to the Opening Doors Task Group, said: “After three years of letter-writing, fund-raising and the generosity of people near and far, the Opening Doors Project at the church has borne fruit with the opening of the new community room.

“Over many years the PCC had discussed the inadequacy of the lighting and heating in the church and of the social space available in the Church Room, a decaying single-storey building placed inconveniently across the road from the church.

“Facing the need for urgent repairs to the historic church building, the PCC enthusiastically adopted the suggestion of Priest in Charge, Rev Simon White, that a new, sympathetic extension could be built on the north side of the church to provide a community room with direct access from the church, and the project could include replacing the lighting and heating in the church to link with that in the new section.

“The Opening Doors Project was launched to open doors to the wider village community by providing an additional, medium sized space, as well as to improve the facilities for those using the church.”

The completed extension is connected to the north wall of the church by a glass fillet so that light can still get through the stained glass windows in the church.

The oldest sections of the church wall feature as part of the space.

In addition to the costs of the building, St Mary’s has also secured funding for a part-time community coordinator.

A preview evening of the flower festival takes place on September 14 from 7.30pm. Tickets, £5, include refreshments.

The church and new room will be open for visitors on Saturday and Sunday.

A concert with the Ashington and District Male Voice Choir will be held on September 15 at 7pm, in support of the Reedham Trust. Tickets, £8, include wine and cheese.

On September 16, there will be a Festival Service and Blessing of the new room and coordinator by the Bishop of Newcastle at 10.45am.

For tickets in advance, call 01665 570807.