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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Lancashire: parishioners restore historic church
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¬†One of the most historic churches in Blackburn, Lancashire, is being restored to its former glory by a team of dedicated parishioners. Former Thwaites brewery signwriter Raymond O'Brien has been joined by friends Michael Barratt, Alan Briggs and Tony Harding, from St Alban's Church in Larkhill, to clean and re-gild the carved wooden reredos behind the altar. After completing this task the group plan to re-gild the panel. Work began last Monday to erect 70ft scaffolding inside the church and the men will work for two weeks painstakingly cleaning almost a century of grime from the figures carved into the wooden panel. St Alban's was the first Roman Catholic church to be established in Blackburn in 1901, after the Reformation. In its early days about 2,000 people attended Sunday Mass. Over the last century the church has seen more than 12,000 baptisms, 10,000 confirmations and 4,500 marriages. In 1995 dry-rot was found in the roof and the diocese considered demolishing the church as the repair cost was estimated at about £250,000. But the town rallied round to raise the cash and when the latest project is completed, the church will be back to its former glory. Parish priest Canon Jude Harrison thanked his team for their work and said he hoped the restoration project would make the church the best it has ever been.
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