A TOTTINGTON church has been rescued from ruin thanks to a £500,000 restoration project.

St John’s with Trinity Church, formerly known as St John’s, has played a huge role in Tottington life from its Kirklees Street base for well over a century – hosting events to welcome home troops from both World Wars and educating thousands of young people at St John’s Primary School from 1869-1975.

Despite the church’s proud history, by the turn of the millennium, the Grade II listed building was falling into a state of disrepair.

A severe infestation of dry rot and collapsing roof meant the wooden pews had to be pulled up and items used during worship hidden away to stop them getting wet.

Ministers’ warden Neil Turner and Trustee of ‘The Friends of St. John’s’ said: “When our old church, Trinity in Affetside, decided to join St John’s back in 2014, we could not hold our Sunday services in Tottington because the building was in such a state of disrepair.

“We even had to hold our carol services on the steps outside in the freezing cold.”

But, the church has now been given a new lease of life thanks to a set of grants from English Heritage, which recognised the historic significance of the building, and Viridor, which funded some of the repairs, as well the hard work of church members and a number of local voluntary groups.

The dry rot has been tackled, the roof fixed, walls re-plastered, wooden wall panelling reinstated, toilets installed and carpets laid.

Outside, the path leading to the church has been repaved and the graveyard has also been restored.

Renovations are well on the way to completion and the church is celebrating by throwing open its doors to the local community again for a Christmas carol service at 4pm on December 17.

Reverend Arthur Kay, assistant minister at the church, said: “It is our earnest hope and prayer that the renovation of this building may be reflected in a revival of Christian faith and hope throughout our community.

"We want this church to play an even bigger and better part in Tottington's future than it did in the past, and we pray that it may be filled to overflowing with those who come to worship Jesus Christ, not only at our carol service on December 17th but in the weeks and years to come."