Campaigners rally to restore stopped Leeds church timepiece

Linda Meikle from Save Our Beeston and vicar Revd Lindsey Pearson.
 
Pictures: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Linda Meikle from Save Our Beeston and vicar Revd Lindsey Pearson. Pictures: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Time stood still in a Leeds community when the clock on the local church tower suddenly stopped working.

But now, there’s no need for anyone to be ticked off - after fundraisers rallied to raise thousands of pounds to fix and restore the ancient timepiece.

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Work has now started to bring the Beeston St Mary’s Church back to its former glory.

Vicar the Reverend Lindsey Pearson explained that church members had been doing other repairs to the church and doing a good job, but it became apparent that the clock tower needed professional restorers.

However efforts to leverage grant funding for the £3,000 estimated bill proved fruitless.

It was at this point that the Save Our Beeston campaign group, which started on Facebook, came on to the church’s aid.

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Founder Sean Sturman explained:: “I was approached around two months ago by Reverend Pearson to try and help with getting St Mary’s clock back working again.

“I felt a little bit apprehensive - but lo and behold the people of Beeston came up with the goods. The response has been staggering.”

He added he hopes that the success of the clock campaign will bring the community even closer together and the group can “go from strength to strength helping more people in need.”

The plea for help led to a number of local fundraising events being held. Last weekend, 40 people went on a sponsored walk.

There have also been coffee and cake mornings.

One person donated £200 worth of concert tickets to help with the campaign. There was also a ten hour bucket collection at a local supermarket A final fundraiser will be held this Saturday, March 25 with a table top sale in the church’s hall to help push towards the final £3,000 target.

Reverend Lindsey said: “The great news is that we’ve got enough money to start some of the repairs.”

CASH DASH IS NOT THE FIRST

There is evidence of a place of worship on the St Mary’s Church site since Norman times.

Before the present church, there was a smaller, separate chapel building, St Leonard’s. In 1541 a bequest gave two shillings to the ‘chappell of sancte Leonardes in Beiston’. The current church was built in two stages. In 1877 a new chancel was added but then the cash ran out. It wasn’t until 1886 that the old chapel was taken down and the rest of St. Mary’s was built. The total building cost was £3,000.

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