Friendships re-established as Penwortham Church celebrates 50th anniversary

Angela Milner and Nick Mansfield with models of St Leonard's
Angela Milner and Nick Mansfield with models of St Leonard's
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Parishioners old and new reconnected at the weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a Penwortham church.

Dozens of people turned out for the two-day exhibition at St Leonard’s C of E Church in Marshalls Brow, which celebrated the half-century anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone on Saturday, September 21.

Sheila Gillibrand's father built the church

Sheila Gillibrand's father built the church


The exhibition told the story of the church developed and detailed later additions to the building including the vicarage, porch, kitchen and small and large halls.


Angela Milner, who helped organise the event, said: “It was very successful and great to see older generations bringing younger ones back to the church.


“There was a lot of active remembrance going on, with people looking at old photographs, seeing themselves, and discussing how things used to be done.


“Even people who weren’t around 50 years ago found it very interesting, with some of them not realising things about the history such as the fire in 1973 which put the church out of action.”

Owen and Jennifer Salisbury-Wilson with the 50th anniversary stones

Owen and Jennifer Salisbury-Wilson with the 50th anniversary stones


She added: “We were visited on the Sunday by previous vicars, and a lot of old friendships were re-established.”


As well as display of old photographs, parish records and documents, there was a family fun day with a bouncy castle on Saturday and two services on Sunday, one attended by the Bishop of Blackburn and other local dignitaries. This was followed by a parish lunch for 64.


Memory cards filled in by visitors and additional photographs are now being catalogued for the future, and parishioners have decorated pebbles in the shape of the number 50, which will be cemented into the ground near to the original foundation stone.


St Leonard’s Church was build on fields of the former Alderfield Farm and riding school after a fundraising campaign by the congregation of the ‘Iron Church’ established at the bottom of Marshalls Brow in 1901, which was built from corrugated iron.

Margaret Dixon with the floral display

Margaret Dixon with the floral display

Rev Nick Mansfield on the bouncy castle

Rev Nick Mansfield on the bouncy castle