A CHURCH is inviting parishioners to go down memory lane with photographs and stories from its past as it looks to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its current building.

Toll Bar with Prescot United Reformed Church, on Freckleton Road, is to hold an anniversary service, to be celebrated on Sunday, July 7.

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This will commemorate 50 years previously when on July 12, 1969, the then Toll Bar Congregational Church, moved from its old wooden premises along Freckleton Road to its long-awaited new building.

Built by members of the congregation, the church had taken years to complete so it was a cause for a big celebration.

The church is seeking people who have memories of the church for its important forthcoming anniversary.

The original church's history dates back to 1909 when a small mission was opened in an upper room above John Brown’s Bakery in Bewsey Street.

Over the next few years its numbers grew and grew until, in 1921, the fellowship moved across Toll Bar to a new site next to the golf links - on the corner of today’s Freckleton Road and Oliver Road.

That wooden building was to sustain the Church for more than 40 years.

By then, church members had a new vision - to build a brand new brick building by their own hands.

During the 1960s, Saturday mornings were given over to building work. Members and friends were confidently led by Reverend Fred Thomson, who had worked in the building trade prior to joining the ministry.

It took a very long, with the shell of the building seeming to be there for years and the wider community doubting the new church would ever be finished.

However, on July 12, 1969, the new Church was finally completed and has been part of the community ever since, with Prescot URC joining it following the demise of their church building in 2004 to become Toll Bar with Prescot URC.

St Helens Star:

The interior of Toll Bar with Prescot URC

Church elder Marian Cleworth said: "Is there anyone out there who attended our church, or whose relatives did, back in the 1950s, 60s, 70s?

"Almost 50 years ago our church moved into its long-awaited new building- an event many in the area thought would never happen.

"I, a mere 17 years old then, was there on that occasion and remember the awe and excitement as we all walked in procession from the old church to the new, and waited for Miss Margaret Pilkington to be handed the key and formally unlock the doors.

"The service which followed held an atmosphere of solemnity, peace and eager anticipation of the way God would lead us in the future years to come.

"We are still here, still worshipping, still active in the ways we bring God 's love to the community, with a thriving Messy Church, enthusiastic scouts, cubs and beavers and strong links with community groups using the church every week.

"We will be holding a special Anniversary Service on Sunday, July 7 at 10.30am, led by our own minister, Reverend Diane Barrow and we would be delighted to welcome anyone wishing to come along."

  • Anyone with memories or photos, is asked to contact Marian on 07720048029 or email mariancleworth@virginmedia.com so that they can be included in the service, display or in the church magazine.