Dozens enjoy birthday event

St. Matthew's Church on Elwick Road in Hartlepool held a "111 years and still standing" event. St. Matthew's vicar, the Reverand Norman Shave (CORR) with some of his flock.
St. Matthew's Church on Elwick Road in Hartlepool held a "111 years and still standing" event. St. Matthew's vicar, the Reverand Norman Shave (CORR) with some of his flock.

RESIDENTS turned out in force to celebrate the 111th birthday of a former church hall.

St Matthew’s Hall, in Elwick Road, which operated as St Matthew’s Mission Church from 1902 until it was de-consecrated in 1945, played host to 160 wellwishers at the weekend to celebrate the landmark.

There was a host of fun and games to keep people entertained and a history wall after people were urged to dig out old photographs of the hall in the run up to the event.

There was games, a picnic tea, face painting, a raffle, cake stall, tombola and magic show plus outside games because the weather held off.

Carol Laud, a member of the management committee at St Matthew’s, said: “It was a fabulous day and the event went really well.

“We sold 160 tickets which was fantastic and there was plenty of activities to keep everybody entertained and the weather was also kind to us which meant the children could play games outside.

“The history wall went down very well and people were interested to find out more about the history of the church hall.”

Organisers had also arranged for a birthday cake and there was also a performance from members of the Hartlepool Ukele Group.

Ahead of the event the management committee had been working with Hartlepool Borough Council’s community development officer Irene Cross on the celebratory event.

Research revealed over the years the church was the hub of the local community, boasting a big Sunday School, a Church Lads Brigade, a sewing club, cricket teams and a choir amongst others.