East Durham church celebrates £34k work to keep it at the centre of a community

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A CHURCH which is still a major part of community life is celebrating the completion of £34,000 of lighting work as it looks towards its 160th anniversary.

St Saviour’s Church, in Grange Terrace, Shotton Colliery, is planning a host of events to mark the milestone occasion in July.

Shotton-born Reverend Paul Greenwell, Canon of Ripon Cathedral, will open the celebrations on Friday, July 11, and Shotton Primary School choir will be performing in the evening.

On Saturday, July 12, the church will be open all day, with displays from various church groups, while at 7pm that day Hartlepool Male Voice Choir will perform.

Tickets are £4 and available on the door or from parochial church council members.

On Sunday, July 13, Reverend Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow, will host a eucharistic service at 10.30am, with the church open all day, before a Songs of Praise-style event at 6pm.

On Monday, July 14, the church will be open all day when Shotton Primary School pupils will perform a closing anniversary service with readings and prayers.

The church has just had £34,000 of lighting improvements completed – without which it could have had to close.

Church warden George Robinson said: “There had been safety issues with the lighting. We couldn’t afford to leave it long, otherwise the church would have had to close. The whole church has been completely rewired.

“We can’t find any record of any lighting work being done on the church before 1948.

“The lighting had originally been put in in 1916 and we had the original light shades.”

The lighting took four weeks to complete and was done by Bishop Auckland firm R Lightfoot.

It was paid for with cash from the Sir John Priestman Charity Trust, Northumberland Historic Churches Trust, Durham Diocese, Barber Trust, Catherine Cookson Charity Trust, JH Burns, a loan and from donations.