Church pews snapped up

Colin Rafferty pictured with one of the pews he bought at the St Hilda's church auction.
Colin Rafferty pictured with one of the pews he bought at the St Hilda's church auction.
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A HISTORIC Hartlepool church raised more than £3,000 towards renovation work when it auctioned off two dozen pews.

The rows of seating went under the hammer at St Hilda’s Church latest coffee morning as part of a minor revamp.

Church leaders were delighted when every pew was snapped up by people keen to get their hands on a piece of local history.

They sold for a total of £3,200.

Anne Collison, wife of Reverend Chris Collison, said: “It was absolutely brilliant.

“Every single pew in the church that was available sold, including all the long ones which we didn’t expect to go as quickly.

“It was a really happy atmosphere and we are really pleased with how it went.”

Hartlepool businessman Colin Rafferty, who owns Rafferty’s and The Sofa Bed Shop in town snapped up eight, including seven large ones measuring 15ft to 18ft long.

He said: “It is a nice bit of history and it is sad to see them go.

“Customers have already put their name down and I have had three phone calls in the last 24 hours.

“The intention is to shorten them to suit customers’ houses. It also gives our carpenters some extra work in the tough economic climate.”

Colin remained tight-lipped about how much he paid for them but said he got a “good deal”.

The Parochial Church Council gave St Hilda’s Church, on the Headland, their blessing to remove the old pews in the nave.

They will be replaced with chairs that link together creating pews and allowing the church to keep the same level of seating.

Pews carrying Hartlepool’s crest and those created by famous furniture maker Robert “Mousey” Thompson did not form part of the auction.

Work is due to get underway after Easter on the installation of under-floor heating to make the church warmer.

It is part of plans to make the most of its space and Rev Collison said the plans will “enable St Hilda’s Church to be a centre of love and life, a place of transformation in a changing room”.