GENEROUS church-goers are edging closer to reaching a mammoth fund-raising target to repair a crumbling building.

Members of Padiham Road Methodist Church are 80 per cent of the way to collecting the £500,000 needed to renovate their base in Brassey Street, Burnley.

The chapel opened in 1902 and some alterations were made in 1984.

But the Rev Phil Clarke, who has been in charge for two years, said a huge amount of work was needed to bring the venue up to standard.

He said: “The whole building is built on a slope and that is really the source of all the problems.

“We’re completely gutting the building, levelling the floor, taking out pews and stairs and making sure there is full disabled access.

“It’s a huge operation but we’ve got some great volunteers, and some very generous members.”

The work will also include building a new entrance, re-roofing the church and adding two new meeting rooms.

A new heating system has recently been installed.

It will be paid for by £200,000 in donations and grants, plus around £300,000 from the sale of Padiham Church, previously owned by the church, together with pledges from members and friends and other sums from fund-raising events.

Mr Clarke said: “The campaign has been going for about four years but it’s really gathered pace in the last 12 months.

“We’ve been fortunate that our members have been so generous so far.

“They give every week and we also made some money from the sale of another building formerly owned by the church.

“We’ve held fashion shows, Christmas fairs and all sorts.

“We’ve got a very lively community with lots of families and, hopefully, we can start some work later this year.”

The church is part of the Burnley Methodist Circuit which includes eight other churches in the area.

  • A group of 10 hardy church-goers will be sponsored to scale the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales over the bank holiday weekend of May 4 and 5 in a bid to bring in extra cash to give the cause a big boost.