Village church needs £60,000 to fix its bell tower during 150th anniversary year

All Saints Church needs help to fix its bell tower.
All Saints Church needs help to fix its bell tower.

Church members are a-peel-ing for help to raise £60,000 to fix their bell tower as the Grade II listed-building gets set to celebrate its 150th anniversary.

Parts of All Saints Church in Cleadon are currently being propped up by scaffolding after it was discovered woodwork supporting the bell and tower had deteriorated - making it unsafe.

The Bishop of Durham, The Right Reverend Paul Butler.

The Bishop of Durham, The Right Reverend Paul Butler.

The congregation is desperate to raise the cash as the church has a number of celebratory events planned - including a visit from the Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler, and a rock concert, on its official 150th birthday on March 31 - which is Mothering Sunday.

In a bid to raise the cash the SOS - Save Our Spire - mission has been launched.

Parish church councillor Keith Higgin, 81, said: “it’s often been said that The Lord’s timing is usually right, but sadly I can’t agree this time.

“The main stonework is sound but due to past North East winters, the exposed woodwork supporting the bell and tower, is in a poor state and now classed as unsafe.

“We are really looking forward to the visit of Bishop Paul on Mothering Sunday. I think, on this occasion, he might have to give thanks for the long existence of our church and also pray for the scaffolding that’s keeping it up.”

Local nobleman Richard Shortridge JP laid the foundation stone for the village church back in 1866 - he had a budget of £1,000.

The plot of land had been bought and donated to The Society of Friends of Cleadon Church and continuous worship has taken place there ever since.

It’s hoped that the repair-work cost can be raised not only from regular churchgoers, but the wider community who enjoy the picturesque church in the centre.

Members are aiming to raise the cash by April so the repairs can be carried out over the summer - when it’s warmer.

It’s thought the bell tower will take around three months to fix.

Already in the region of £12,000 has been donated by well-wishers and there’s plans to apply for grants and funding.

Keith said: “Urgent funding has started, we put our plight into our monthly newsletter and we’ve set up a Just Giving page.

“We just need to spread the word and let people know the situation we are in to help us save our church.”

To donate to the fund, visit www.justgiving.com/allsaintschurch-cleadon.