AN appeal has ben launched to save a church at the centre of a pit community.
The Church of the Ascension in Easington Colliery has been the focus of celebrations, and a place to turn to for comfort in times of need, since 1926.
It played a central part in bringing villagers together as they coped with the mining disaster of 1951 and during the strikes of 1984/85.
Now the building faces an uncertain future because its electricity and gas system has been condemned.
Christenings, weddings and funerals have moved to St Mary’s in Easington Village because of the problems.
An appeal has been launched to raise £25,000 to cover the cost of bringing the heating up to standard and rewiring the building.
Work to patch up its roof is helping to keep water out, but it is hoped a further £100,000 can be raised in time to replace it.
Heather Wood, one of the people leading the campaign, said: “If people have specifically asked to use the church we have been able to put something together and get electric to the organ and the vicar’s mic, but people have been sitting in the freezing cold.
“The community has really responded to the appeal and Easington has always been a place of good givers and good organisers, but the church itself means a lot to people.”
Durham County Councillor David Boyes, chairman of the village’s regeneration partnership, added: “It’s absolutely crucial that we get this money to get the electrics going again. The church has such a cultural significance in Easington. It’s very dear to people’s hearts.”
The campaigners have set up www.justgiving.com/yimby/easingtoncolliery so people can donate, with a host of events planned to raise funds.