Businessman steps in to help transform Penwortham club

St Teresa's Parish Centre, Penwortham

St Teresa's Parish Centre, Penwortham

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A businessman has ploughed £10,000 of his own cash into helping secure the future of a Penwortham social club.

Tom Gallagher, who used to collect glasses as a teenager at St Teresa’s Parish Centre in Queensway, decided to step in after seeing custom decline and hearing the worries of regulars.

St Teresa's Parish Centre, Penwortham

St Teresa's Parish Centre, Penwortham

“It was dire”, said John Gooch, who project managed the overhaul.

“Nothing had been done for 25 years, it was all sticky carpets and dingy wallpaper.

“We weren’t getting anybody in that room at all, and we knew we couldn’t go on like that.”

Tom, who runs a utilities company in Salford, but still lives in Penwortham, said: “When I was a young lad that place was packed to the rafters, but things have changed.

“I could see it was going down and down, and it was getting to members like John Gooch.

“I decided to step in to make a donation, but that’s the easy bit, it was John who did all the hard work really and it looks fantastic.”

Over the course of two weeks, John, with the help of 20 other members, set about ripping up carpets and preparing the room for interior designer Jacqueline Stewart, who gave her services for free.

They bought in new tables, recovered chairs, had new carpet laid, and new wall paper.

Member Dave Benton added: “The difference is amazing. It’s welcoming now, and we hope that we’ll get more young couples in. We also want people to know that it’s not a members club at all, anyone can come in, Catholic or not.”

Members of the club are dedicated charity fundraisers, collecting £30,000 for charities including The Katy Holmes Trust, Admiral Nurses and the Remis Breathe Easy Appeal over the past 15 months.

John added: “If this club weren’t open, then we wouldn’t be able to raise all that money for charity, so that’s why we needed to focus on the club a bit.

“It’s also really important to have something like this for the people of Penwortham, for the sense of community, and to offer an alternative to the Fleece.”

John has now set his sights on renovating the concert hall, the kitchen and games room.