By now it was obvious that a great deal of money would have to be spent on repairs and re-decoration to the interior of the Church. A Gift Day was held on March 2nd, 1985, with a very encouraging result.
The Minister, Rev. A. Skipsey, received gifts in the Vestry between 10 and 12 o’clock. Coffee was served in the lounge, performances were given by the young people and there was an organ recital by Mr. John Edwards. A short service closed the morning.
The money received was £4,406.50; £3,225 of this was covenanted, yielding £346 tax refund.. One family promised £50 per month for the remainder of the Year, giving £450. Therefore, the total for the Gift Day amounted to £5,202.50p.
Following the alterations and renovations the Church was re-opened for services on Sunday 23rd June. Our Minister, Rev. Alan Skipsey led the first service during which an act of re-dedication took place. The lessons were read by Mr. Ted Holt (Property Secretary) and Mr. Chris Hampson (Finance Secretary), both of whom are local preachers. The hymns chosen were 979, 707, 983, 610 and 701; the lessons were I Kings 8v27-43 and Hebrews 10 v. 19-25 and the sermon based on Matthew 13 v45-46.
Many people willing to give long and faithful service have passed through the Church. As examples we think of those who have been organists. Mr. William Bridgehouse carried out those duties from 1901-1935, assisted by Mr. Samual Holden. He was followed by Mr. Albert Schofield who played the organ for morning and evening services every Sunday throughout the year until 1954, taking only one Sunday off for his annual holiday. Before then, in 1914, Mr. Schofield had been appointed, at the age of 11, Sunday school pianist. After becoming organist he also took up the duties of Choirmaster for some years. Thus, his services covering music in the Church spanned 40 years.
Mr. Ronald Bowker assisted from 1937-1940 but then entered the Forces. However, when home on leave he asked to be allowed to take his place on the organ stool. In 1952 Mr. lan Shepherd began to sit on the stool beside Mr. Schofield and took over as sole organist, in which capacity he served until his marriage in 1961. For several years now that position has been filled by various organists playing on a rota basis. The people forming a rota, differing over the years, have included Mrs. Parsons, Mrs. H. Whitehall, Mrs. S. Jones, Mr. B. Parker, Mr. J. Harrison, Mr. M. Pittam, Mrs. E. Pittam, Mr. J. Edwards, Mrs. J. Moilliet.
Intermittently throughout the years, the Church has enjoyed the singing rendered by choirs of high standard. They have been conducted by some able and competent choirmasters who have built up good and sizeable groups of singers. But choirs flourish and dwindle: older members die or feel that they have “passed their best” and younger ones leave the district because of marriage or occupation. A time must then lapse before members can be brought together to form a new choir. Included in the names of long-serving Choirmasters are Mr. William Holden, Mr. J. Kirkbright, Mr. J . W. Booth, Mr. A. Goddard, Mr. A. Schofield, Mr. J. Schofield, Mr. J. Hoyle, Mr. J. Harrison.
Whilst remembering those who have served the church over long periods of time it is interesting to recall the visit of Rev. J. Jeffries who preached the Anniversary Services for 21 consecutive years, when the Church was packed to capacity.
The Sunday School has also reaped the benefit of the dedication of many of its officials, Mr. Ernest Schofield was the Superintendent for a long number of years, being assisted towards the end of that time by Mr. R. Bowker and Mr. C. Ashworth. Mr. R. Bowker afterwards became the sole Superintendent, resigning when he left the district. Other Sunday School Superintendents have included Mr. R. Mather, Mr. Sutcliffe, Miss J. Clarkson, Miss V. Ellis (now Mrs. Haigh) Mr. S. Isherwood, Miss N. Longfield (now Mrs. Ashworth), Mr. C. Ashworth, Miss M. Hutchinson, Mr. R. Fitton, Mr. M. Kay, Mrs. E. Pittam, Mrs. J. Davies.
The Primary Department was divided into Primary and Beginners Departments in 1967 and recombined to form the Discoverers Department in 1980. Leaders have included Miss N. Holden (later Mrs. Scholes), Miss M. Ellis (now Mrs. Metcalfe), Miss M. Brooks (now Mrs. Cuthbertson), Miss M. Hutchinson, Mrs. Robinson, Miss J. Longworth (now Mrs. Bowker), Mrs. Collier, Mrs. N. Ashworth, Mrs. B. Ashburn, Miss J . Whitehall (also later Mrs. Firth), Miss K. Jones, Mrs. S. Holt, Mrs. S. Hutchinson, Mrs. M. Sutcliffe, Mrs. L. Colam, Mrs. G. Atkin, Mrs. J. Davies, Mrs. I. Rowel and Miss J. Horrocks.
Mr. D. Landamore filled the position of Sunday School Secretary for well over 10 years. He resigned in 1948; Mr. C. Ashworth took over this work and carried on until 1969, except for a two year break in 1951/53 when he was away in Teacher Training College. During those two years Mrs. N. Ashworth (then Miss N. Longfield) filled the position. Other Secretaries have been Mr. S. O. Shore, Miss M. Hutchinson, Mr. R. Rostron, Mr. A. Eyre, Mrs. A. Haire, Mrs. B. Atkin and Mrs. E. Harrison.
The Sunday School Treasurer, for more than 20 years, was Mr. A. Nuttall. He was succeeded in 1958 by Mr. I. Hutchinson who carried on for some years. Since then Treasurers have included Mr. R. Harrison and Mrs. A. Haire. Many of those officials have, whilst holding office, also been Sunday School Teachers.
In 1964 the afternoon Sunday School was dropped. The children then started coming into the morning service at 10.45 for combined Worship, leaving after about 20 minutes to go to their own classes.
In the early ’60s the Sunday School scholars had a Christmas outing to an Ice Palace to do ice-skating themselves. The regular activities taking place at present are varied in nature, but the “Ladies’ Fellowship” does deserve special mention. This group has been known as “The Married Ladies”, “The Mothers”, “The Ladies Bright Hour”, “Women’s Work”, “The Ladies’ Fellowship”. Whatever the name has been they have always stood ready to be called on in an emergency. They have, naturally, been in charge of the catering for social occasions; they have provided money at short notice, either from their own funds or by means of money-raising efforts such as Jumble Sales or Sales of Work. Every year, in May, they hold an American Tea which is always successful financially. Strangely, the weather is usually good on that day! For some years members of the Ladies’ Fellowship undertook the Spring cleaning of the Church before the Anniversary Services. They scrubbed the floor and polished the pews and other woodwork. There was a time when the hot water pipes were polished with black lead.