We were able to complete repairs for the chancel roof and walls in 2014 which were the most urgently needed. We raised a lot of money locally and had grants awarded, including from the English Heritage Lottery Fund to enable this to be undertaken. The contractor was Team Force Ltd of Gateshead and our architect is David Beaumont of Brown, Beaumont Architects LLP of Castle Eden.
We then had to raise funds to renew the roof on the nave and are grateful for all the support we have had to our fundraising events. With the award of matched funding grants, we were able to commence the work.
The scaffolding was erected around the nave in the week commencing Monday 24 August for the work to commence on 1 September. The contractor is Dan Ransom Roofing and Building Ltd of Darlington, with our architect David Beaumont. The roof was stripped and new membrane layer, batons and new Welsh slates were put in place with the work finishing on time at the end of October, despite all the strong winds and rain. The scaffolding was removed and from the outside the church would have been ready to open.
However, the inside was still receiving attention. Scaffolding was erected to do minor repairs to the ceiling as a result of removing the roof, and the whole church was redecorated and the lighting rewired taking advantage of this scaffolding. With the help of volunteers we were able to polish all the woodwork and restore the church for use for services once more, together with some decorations for Christmas. This was completed on 16th December.
The church was able to hold the first service on 20 December and on Christmas Day morning. It was so good to be back!
Then another lockdown was imposed and we decided to close the church for services for the safety of people through the risk of transmission of the virus. We are returning to celebrate Easter Sunday and look forward to being able to reopen the church more for private prayer and for visitors as the lockdown is eased over the next few weeks.