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Horden church celebrates 90th anniversary after being hub of village since 1924

Jean Williams president of Horden Independent Church

Jean Williams president of Horden Independent Church

MEMBERS of a church are inviting the community to join them at a concert to celebrate their 90th anniversary.

Horden’s Independent Methodist Church opened in 1924 and was a real hub of the village, with many members being miners of the relatively newly-sunken pit and their families.

It has been led by ministers, including, in the earlier days, Mr Timmis and Mr Jones, Jack Robinson, Victor Barnes and then his brother Ronnie after him.

This Saturday, parishioners are hoping residents will join them in a commemorative event to mark the milestone occasion as they host a concert featuring Lanchester Male Voice Choir.

There will also be a buffet supper following the free event, which starts at 7pm.

Church secretary Audrey Dawson, 76, was just three when her family moved to Horden from Shildon for work at the pit and she became a member of the church aged just three.

Miss Dawson, who worked for The Co-operative Society for 40 years, said: “This church in Horden, it was mostly miners that came to the church, miners and their families when Horden pit opened.

“We used to have a big congregation at one time.”

There was something going at the church, in Cotsford Lane, every night in its heyday, including a choir and music night, with Raymond Hepburn playing the organ and Ralph Oakes on the piano.

But nowadays there are just 10 members left, mainly in their 70s and 80s, mainly meeting for bible study during the week and having a church service on Sunday evenings.
“We are trying our best to keep it going as long as we can,” said Miss Dawson, who said the decline in population could be due to people moving away.

She added: “I’m hoping people will read this in the paper and people who used to go to the church will think ‘I might pop along and enjoy the concert’.”

A display of photographs from throughout the church’s life will also be on show.

 

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