That was before a routine inspection of the historic bell tower revealed that the whole church was in desperate need of repair, and that a massive renovation project was required.
Fast forward more than 10 years and the renovation is complete thanks to a £700,000 fundraising effort spearheaded by church warden David Jones.
Before the renovation work the bell tower was in danger of toppling over and crashing through the roof. Large areas of brickwork throughout the church needed repairing and members of the congregation would have to queue up outside to use toilet facilities.
David acted as project manager to transform the church and the local community who use it, using funds raised from countless grants applications and donations.
“None of this would be possible without David,” wrote Andrew Hunt, a member of the church choir, who nominated him for Ecclesiastical Insurance’s ‘Little Deeds, Big Difference’ competition. He added: “Some of the work was required because the church was in a dangerous state, ignoring it was simply not an option. But David’s ‘can do’ attitude was a driving force for the project, which inspired many more people to help.
The results of David’s tireless work are there for all to see. Not only is the church fit for purpose once more, but a kitchen and disabled toilet facility have been fitted, the rose windows have been repaired and a new heating system has been installed.
Since the renovation project, the church has become a community hub. A Sunday school is now open, the building has better facilities to host concerts and a partnership with Aspull Church Primary School has blossomed.
Andrew continued: “St. Elizabeth’s really is unrecognisable in terms of our ability to reach out to the local area since the work was completed. Thanks to David we will be able to implement our new vision, work with the wider community and make a real difference. Now, when we host concerts, carol services, weddings and funerals, people come into our church who wouldn’t have been able to attend before.
“David hasn’t done any of these great things for recognition…but we think it’s time he got some!”
Ecclesiastical’s ‘Little Deeds, Big Difference’ competition is open to Anglican churches to celebrate the often unsung but vital contributions that individuals like David make to their wider communities. Following a judging process, the winner will be gifted £10,000 for their church, and a further five churches will receive £2,000.
Churches have until 31 August 2018 to nominate a volunteer. To find out more about this year’s competition, including how to enter, visit www.ecclesiastical.com/churchcomp.