Dozens of people have shown their support for a campaign to protect a historic Hartlepool church
A meeting was held to get the public’s view on the future of St Mary’s Church on the Headland, which is subject to a £500,000 restoration campaign to return it to its former glory.
Delighted St Mary’s parish council member Bernadette Malcolmson said: “We had a truly excellent evening.
“We had 70 people attend and we raised more than £480 from the raffle and donations alone, both from those in attendance and others simply enjoying an evening at the Duke of Cleveland who wanted to help the cause.
“Everyone commented on what a lovely atmosphere there was throughout the evening and discussion went on in small groups for around an hour before the pie and pea supper.”
People came up with ideas on extending the use of the building, and how to remodel the inside.
We had a truly excellent evening. We had 70 people attend and we raised more than £480 from the raffle and donations alone, both from those in attendance and others simply enjoying an evening at the Duke of Cleveland who wanted to help the causeBernadette Malcolmson
“There were also suggestions put forward for the two properties and gardens attached to the church and on how community groups could utilise our buildings too,” said Bernadette. “Various fundraising schemes were discussed and also a desire to work more closely with both St Bega’s and English Martyrs Schools and other community groups from the area.
“We’re also going to be looking at seeking advice from local churches such St Hilda’s, and some from further afield who have already gone through a similar process, to help us make some informed decisions on what is going to work for us and what our starting point should be.”
The meeting came after church campaigners launched a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding. But as part of the bid, campaigners want to generate ideas on how the property can be more than just a church.
Bernadette added: “As a result of last night we’ve also had offers from two local choirs who would hold a concert for us to help raise funds and some individuals who would like to actively be involved in a working party as we move forward from here with the applications.”
The funds are needed for work on the bell tower which is crumbling from the inside out, exterior walls and on the floor which is “lifting down the aisle”, said Bernadette.