170 years at heart of village life

Holy Trinity Church in Wingate is celebrating its 170th anniversary. The Reverand Roger Davies (seated) with the volunteers who help keep the church running.
Holy Trinity Church in Wingate is celebrating its 170th anniversary. The Reverand Roger Davies (seated) with the volunteers who help keep the church running.

PEOPLE are being invited to join in a church’s 170th anniversary celebrations.

Holy Trinity Church, in Wingate, was built in 1841 in response to too many people using the church in Castle Eden.

Since then, the church, which was consecrated on October 22, 1841, has gone from strength to strength and has played a vital role in Wingate’s history.

The Rev Roger Davies, who has been at the church for three-and-a-half years, said: “The church was originally built in 1841 because people from the mines in Wingate were going across to the church in Castle Eden.  “There were so many that the curate of Castle Eden asked the Bishop of Durham if we could have another church somewhere.”

Mr Davies said the church had grown over the years, with improvements including a kitchen extension which means social events like coffee evenings can be held.

He added: “The church has been there in times of trouble, like when the pit disaster happened.

“The church was very much in the forefront of helping people. We always like to think it is in the centre of the community.

“I certainly find people don’t come to church in their droves, but they do value the church and support it.”

He added that a lot of people would remember the Rev Eric Taylor, who was at the church from the 1940s to 1960s.

On Monday the church held a concert which featured Peterlee’s GT Group band.  

Celebrations continue until Sunday.A flower festival, featuring displays from local groups including the local Mother’s Union and Scouts, runs at the church daily from 10am-4pm.

There is also a display of photos of Wingate throughout the years, including when a Vulcan bomber aeroplane crashed in the village in 1971.

Tonight from 7pm the church is also hosting a Songs of Praise-style event, which will feature specially-themed hymns and readings.

From tomorrow until Saturday, there will also be an exhibition of marriage registers for anyone who tied the knot at the church to see.

There will also be a broth and stottie evening on Friday from 7pm.

The events will culminate with a celebration service on Sunday from 10am, held by the Bishop of Jarrow, Mark Bryant.