Festival to mark milestone

Fr Kevin Smith pictured with a flower arrangement in St Mary's Churh where a flower festival is to be held to commemorate its 100th year.
Fr Kevin Smith pictured with a flower arrangement in St Mary's Churh where a flower festival is to be held to commemorate its 100th year.
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AN HISTORIC church will be blooming with a burst of bright colours as it opens its doors for a flower festival to celebrate its centenary.

A host of events are under way to mark the 100th anniversary of St Mary’s Church, in Blackhills Terrace, Horden.

One of them is a Centenary Flower Festival called 100 Glorious Years.

It starts with a cheese and wine evening from 6pm-9pm on Thursday, June 27, which will feature chamber music from the Caritas Ensemble, which has performed up and down the country, and tickets are £5 on the door.

The festival is then open on Friday, June 28, from 10am-9pm, Saturday, June 29, from 10am-6pm and on Sunday, June 30, from 10am-5pm.

There will also be a welcome mass for new church curate Father James Leigh from 6pm on the Sunday.

There will be a cake stall and refreshments each day, as well as displays of children’s artwork from Horden primary schools.

Festival programmes will also be available for £2.

Father Kevin Smith, from the church, said: “There will be lots of displays reflecting the history of the church and events over the last 100 years it has been involved in.

“There will be a displays centred on the war memorial and mining history.

“A lot of people died in the wars who came from Horden, and one of the mining displays will feature the miner’s wheel as well as the miner’s banner, which has a picture of the church on it.”

He added: “We really want to make the flower festival a big success and hope as many people from the community support it as possible.”

Around 400 people attended a service on the actual church anniversary on April 26.

Further events are planned, including renowned singer Sir Thomas Allen, who is chancellor of Durham University, and Peterlee’s GT Band featuring in a centenary gala concert at the church from 3pm on Sunday, October 27.

Sir Thomas has performed at Last Night of the Proms.

A centenary dinner will also take place later in the year on a date in November.

The church is also selling commemorative memorabilia, including mugs and tea towels to mark the milestone.

St Mary’s Church was built in 1911 with funds from Colonel Roland Burdon, and opened in 1913. Chairs were replaced by pews in 1947.