Our fund-raising appeal to save the Accrington Pals Memorial Chapel in St John’s Church hit its £50,000 target this week after just 14 months.
The beautiful and historic church could now be open as early as next summer.
Since the Aspire appeal was launched in October 2007 we have been deluged with donations ranging from hundreds of pounds to pensioners giving a tenner.
And well-wishers have org-anised all sorts of fund-raising events from sponsored walks and swims to concerts and a cricket match.
Delighted church official Andy Shepherd said: "We would like to thank everyone who helped in any way. We are extremely grateful.
"The response from so many people, both within the town and beyond, shows the high regard that the Pals Chapel and St John’s Church hold in the public’s thoughts.
"We will now work hard to do everything we can to save this focal point of the town and ensure it is looked after and used for the good of the people of Accrington."
Observer editor Mervyn Kay said: "This again shows the amazing generosity of our army of readers. We always knew people would rally round to save a memorial to Accrington’s greatest heroes but we did not know it would happen quite so quickly.
"Everyone has heard of the Pals and people are determined to preserve their memory. The response to the appeal has been phenomenal."
The church will use part of the money for immediate repairs to the roof and spire, making the building watertight for years, and the rest will be spent on preparing a bid for an £85,000 grant from English Heritage before the deadline next March.
St John’s has recently re-opened for two special events, a Back to Church Sunday in the autumn and a Nine Hymns and Carols service last Sunday which attracted huge congregations of 350 and 250 respectively. Other services have been held in St Christopher’s High School.
* A flurry of donations took the appeal beyond the £50,000 mark. They included £244 from Christine Rawcliffe in memory of her mum Elizabeth Hales who died 21 years ago. £100 from the East Lancashire Concert Band; £50 from the trustees of the Oswaldtwistle Sick Poor Fund; £40 from Stanhill Methodist Church and the New Friends of Hyndburn Widows’ Club for illustrated talks given by Garth Dawson; £100 from Simon Jersey; £30 from Mrs C Taylor in lieu of buying a Christmas present for her mother; £25 from Mr P Driver; £20 from Alison Holmes from a collection at the DWP office instead of a birthday gift; and £20 in memory of a dear mum Jennie Worthy and friend Alice Warburton from daughter Joan, Gary and families. And Ruth Turner, wife of the late Pals historian Bill, donated the latest in a long series of £10s.