Chapel to close doors

Ferrybridge methodist chapel is closing down after 130 years.'Alma Steard (Church member), Raymond Lingard (property steward), Stella Westerman (former steward)

Ferrybridge methodist chapel is closing down after 130 years.'Alma Steard (Church member), Raymond Lingard (property steward), Stella Westerman (former steward)

0
Have your say

A FERRYBRIDGE church is closing its doors after more than 130 years serving the community.

The Methodist chapel on Doncaster Road will hold its last service on Sunday July 31 and will then be sold.

Raymond Lingard, who has helped to run the building for the last 30 years, said the decision to close was due to lack of support.

He said: “We’ve been holding off for a year but we decided we can’t carry on as we are. We had a meeting through the Pontefract Methodist Circuit but nobody offered any help, so the reason it’s closing is due to lack of support.

“It’s a shame because it’s a lovely building and it’s beautiful inside, but we feel we can’t go on without assistance.

“It doesn’t sit right with us because we have been doing it a long time. To lose a chapel like that is sad.

“My great-grandfather was a founding member of the chapel, going back to the 1900s and helped with the extension. So it’s been a family thing with me and I wanted to keep it going.”

Mr Lingard, who has been involved with the church since he attended Sunday school as a child, is currently property steward for the chapel and runs the grounds with the help of wife, Linda.

He works alongside chief steward, Margaret Holden, and former chief steward, Stella Westerman, who retired from the post a year ago.

Mr Lingard, 65, added: “Me and my wife have been keeping things going and have done for a couple of years, but it’s impossible due to membership and the number of people coming on Sundays.

“Most people who go to church now are older people I suspect, and when they’re getting into their 70s and 80s they can’t get out as much.

“We have accepted that it’s closing but we thought people should be aware it’s happening.”

The chapel was built in 1878 and extended in 1928. It was renovated in 2000 and as well as providing a weekly service, is home to several community groups.

Mr Lingard, of Ashworth Road, Pontefract, said: “We have groups that use the chapel in the week, such as an arts and crafts group. It’s a loss to the community but it’s just there’s no-one to take on the responsibility and jobs that need doing.

“They’re hoping to find a different premises to run their groups and the chapel will be missed in that sense, but the community? I don’t know.”