A POPULAR Sunday school in New Mills which survived a Luftwaffe bombing raid during the Second World War is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Originally based in the old tin chapel in Low Leighton, the Sunday school grew in strength and numbers for the next 31 years until a fateful night in July 1942, when the church and two neighbouring houses were destroyed during an air raid, killing two people.
Thirteen years later, and after substantial fundraising by local residents, a modern replacement building was opened on High Hill Road, and this was when the Sunday school really took off in the local area – boasting over 100 members in 1955.
Low Leighton Methodist Church’s Property Steward, Michael Doughty, who is also a volunteer helper at the Sunday school, said: “Over the years, hundreds of young people have attended our Sunday school with many happy memories thanks to the commitment and hard work of our teachers and youth workers, and will always see Low Leighton as their church.”
To mark the anniversary, a programme of events will take place at the church next weekend, beginning on Saturday, June 18, with a concert by Dove Holes Brass Band, starting at 7.30pm. Admission to this is £5.
Celebrations continue on Sunday June 19, when there will be a family service at 11am by Rev John and Glenis Minor of Chorley, with items by the Sunday school choir. This will be followed at 4pm by a grand celebration tea and reunion – which will be attended by nearly 100 former pupils of the Sunday school.
Finally, at 6pm, the 100th anniversary celebration service will be conducted by the Rev David Philo, with support from Chapel-en-le-Frith Male Voice Choir.
Throughout the weekend, there will also be a display of memorabilia from the archives relating to the church, its two sites and the Sunday school, including a book containing every registered baptism over the past 100 years, attendance registers, photographs and press cuttings.
It is also a double celebration for Low Leighton Methodist Church, which recently was awarded a lottery grant of £10,000 to pay for ongoing improvements to the purpose-built community building. Work, carried out by local tradesmen, is ongoing to replace single glazed metal windows, improve disabled access, and replace the kitchen and toilet facilities.