Raising money before the lottery

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Long before lottery grants and other windfalls of funding were available local organisations had to work extremely hard to raise the necessary money for maintaining the fabric of their premises.

This could be just a single meeting room or, in the case of a church or chapel, there are many things to look after from the roof down to the plumbing, footpaths and grounds.

In 1950 the members of Bridge End Chapel had felt for some time the chapel needed some refurbishment and redecorating.

This was now high on the list of things that desperately need to be done.

Finance for such projects was equally as high on the agenda as the job its self.

To make a start in raising the estimated £5,000 required for the tasks in hand on March 18 and 19, 1950, a Spring Fayre was held.

This event was a repeat of a similar one they had held in 1939 and the committee felt it would be a winner and a big help with the fundraising.

This two day event raised £650, which in those far off days was a huge amount of money.

In the October with the painting and refurbishment complete a special commemorative booklet was produced which was aptly called ‘Dreams come True’.

As with most churches or chapels they were for many people not only a place of worship but a focal point for the local community, who would take part in many other activities held at the church.

At Bridge End for many years there was a Boy’s Bridge but like today it struggled not with falling membership but to find adults who were prepared to be leaders.

It also had a dramatic society which was formed in 1949 and quickly became one of the more thriving sections of the church.

Then just for the ladies was something called the fancy work classes.

With a Girl’s Brigade for those between eight and 15, a junior club catering for those children between 10 and 15 years, sewing classes and, for the men, a men’s discussion class and, last but not least, a Women’s Neighbourly Union.

Bridge End Congregational Church was a hive of local activity as well as the place of worship.

The dramatic society was run by chairman E S Hughes; secretary B Hinchliffe and - where would any group be without a good treasurer? - they had J T Barraclough, whose family had been connected with Bridge End from the turn of the century, with Wilfred Barraclough being the Church secretary for 21 years.

Mrs R Morrell was in charge of the fancy class; Mrs H Barker was the Captain of the Girl’s Life Brigade; T Gartland was leader of the junior club; Miss L E Taylor ran the sewing class. With these and many more groups the church was thriving.

The group of church elders in this 1950 photograph include: (back row, left to right) Mrs M A Booth; J Chatburn; R Castle, Miss I Pring; T A Gartland; E S Hughes and Miss B Hartley.

Front row: (left to right) R Morrell; Wilfred Barraclough; Rev Ronald W Wilmut; A. Downend and J Reside. Absent: Mrs M A Roebuck and R H Pinchin.