FORGOTTEN war memorials which have been kept in a church cellar for up to 60 years could see the light of day again, thanks to a parishioner.

Rita Hayes, 68, is appealing for help in raising £1,000 to salvage and restore 12 memorials at Trinity Methodist Church in Clitheroe.

The memorials, which include around 100 names, date from the First World War with one listing names from the Second Boer War.

They were placed in the church’s cellar over the last 60 years after several Methodist churches in the town closed down.

The wooden, marble, paper and brass memorials came from Mount Zion, Union Street, Nelson Street, Waterloo in Kendle Street and the Emporium.

Now Rita, who has been a member of the church since 2000, has contacted the War Memorials Trust which has pledged to match the money that she raises pound for pound to complete the project.

If funds are raised in time, it’s expected that the memorials could be restored and mounted on the wall of the church from November.

Major refurbishment work, costing around £400,000, is being carried out at the 200-year-old church, which has been closed for services since May.

Rita, a retired midwife who lives in Highfield Road, said that it was ‘really important’ to get the memorials restored and put back on display.

The mum-of-two and grandmother-of-three said: “Over the last few years we have been concentrating on raising money for the refurbishment work.

“But now that is being completed, now is the time for the war memorials to be restored. I think it would have been done sooner if more people had known about their existence. They should never have been left in the cellar for so long. I would very much like to see them restored and I hope that something can be done.”

To donate money towards the project, write to 28 Highfield Road, Clitheroe, BB7 1NE.