A historic Hartlepool church will be well and truly in the spotlight thanks to an upcoming programme of events aimed at restoring it to its former glory.
About £500,000 is needed to restore St Mary’s Church, on the Headland.
That includes work on the bell tower, which is crumbling from the inside out, as well as exterior walls and the floor.
In an attempt to raise funds, a series of events are being planned, including workshops, open weekends and a chance to view the church’s gardens.
Parish council member Bernadette Malcolmson revealed some of the ideas, which have yet to be finalised.
Opening up the gardens at St Mary’s is one consideration along with possibly attracting some funding to turn our outbuildings into workshops for woodwork.
Volunteers are also putting together a leaflet with a potted history of the church building.
It is all part of an ongoing project to encourage more interest in the church.
Bernadette revealed more about the plans, saying: “We are in the process of putting together several open weekends, with light refreshments for people to come and enjoy the gardens and the church building too.
“We are also putting together a leaflet with a potted history of the church building that could be used during this weekend for those wishing to have a look around the church.”
A photography experience is also on the agenda. This would involve opening the church up to small groups so they can photograph the architecture in and around the church.
Bernadette said it would give people the “chance to stay a while and edit their pictures while being able to ask questions about the history of the church if they wish”.
St Mary’s was opened by Bishop William Hogarth on August 28, 1851. The Archbishop of Westminster Nicholas Wiseman preached at the mass.
The bells that rang out from the church to welcome people were the first bells to ring in a Catholic Church in the North East since Tudor times.