OUR appeal to save the Accrington Pals Memorial Chapel in beautiful and historic St John’s Church moved a significant step forward with a generous £500 donation.
It came from Tony Hales and his 98-year-old dad Ernest.
Tony is now the verger of Holy Trinity Church in Blackpool while Ernest, who was married at St John’s in 1929, still lives in Accrington.
Tony explained how his own "old barn of a church", also Grade 11 listed, had been resurrected after being earmarked for closure five years ago.
Appeal co-ordinator Karen Smyth said: "This is a real boost, both in terms of a wonderful donation to our fund and to hear the good news about Tony’s church which we have been invited to see for ourselves."
Anonymous donations of £200, £50 and £39 have made it a good week for the fund, along with £120 from the church’s Wednesday morning service group, £35 from Mr and Mrs Martindale and £10 with love to Bill from Ruth.
It takes the total raised so far to £36,417 – well on the way to the £50,000 needed to re-open the church.
And more is to come from a sponsored swim organised by Pat Baron involving St John’s School pupils and confirmation candidates.
Pat was delighted that pupils from other schools took sponsorship forms and organised their own swim.
She is now waiting for the money to come in and be counted.
Judith Murray, who is celebrating her 65th birthday with a party at Sydney Street WMC, Accrington, tomorrow (Saturday), has asked guests, who are coming from all over the UK and Ireland, to give donations to the appeal instead of bringing gifts.
Next week’s Observer will feature a report on the trip to the Somme battlefields, where many of the Pals are buried, in which members of St John’s took part.