English Martyrs Church in Preston goes up in flames, centarian Elsie has some sound advice for the Queen Mother and the North End boys record a football song! - stories and pictures from the year 2000

A selection of stand-out stories from the year 2000, with your pictures of yesteryear:

Wednesday, 1st August 2018, 10:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st August 2018, 11:58 am
Taking part in a massive 24-hour pool marathon are Paul Brogden, Rebecca Tonge, Annmarie McGlynn, Steve Kay and Darren Kay at the Sumners, Fulwood, Preston

Firefighters battle to save iconic church

Firefighters worked through the night in a desperate battle to prevent flames devastating one of Preston’s finest churches.

The blaze tore through part of English Martyrs RC Church, in Garstang Road, destroying furniture, prayer books and candles.

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Fire crews led Fr John Danson to safety from the adjacent presbytery as they tackled the flames.

The shocked stand-on priest was left with the task of informing the regular parish priest, Fr Peter Sharrock, who is on holiday in France, of the awful news which has stunned the close-knit parish.

Firefighters had to smash their way into the church building to fight the fire, which started in a confessional.

First investigations led fire chiefs to believe the blaze was started deliberately.

But they have since ruled out crime and now think the cause the accidental.

More than 40 firefighters fought to bring the blaze under control as it spread to the roof.

Parish leaders were thankful the flames left the main church building largely untouched.

Elsie has some advice for the Queen Mother on reaching 100

Elsie Wolstencroft has some very good advice for the nation’s favourite grandma as she reaches her 100th birthday.

Elsie herself passed this important milestone four years ago and all she has to say to the Queen Mother on the occasion of her centenary is , “Learn to smile more!”

Elsie, it must be said, is not the Queen Mum’s biggest fan despite living her life as a contemporary of Her Majesty.

She cannot forget the one occasion she met the former Queen who was on a wartime tour of the munitions factory in Lancaster where Elsie was a shell maker.

Elsie said: “She never even smiled. I’ll never forget it. There was a war on and a smile would have gone a long way but she never did, nor did her husband.

“We’d been there since six o’clock in the morning scouring the machines and she never cracked her face. She never even looked at us.”

And she added ruefully that the workers also lost their bonus through having to do the clean up instead of turning out shells.

These days she lives in Greenways Rest Home, Bamber Bridge, swapping memories with another contemporary of the Queen Mother, Alice Corrigan, aged 101.

Alice said: “She’s in a different class from us, isn’t she?”

Pop stardom for North End Boys

Never mind West End Girls, here’s the North End Boys.

Proud Preston are keeping up one of soccer’s finest traditions – by recording the dreaded football song.

And last year’s table toppers are hoping to become chart toppers for charity.

The seven-track record is being organised by media company promoters Frank Sanderson and Tony Slater to raise money for St Catherine’s Hospice and Derian House.

The songs include the Town End chant Wise Men Say and an adapted Queen classic We Are the Champions, as the club prepares for its first season in the higher divisions for 20 years.

Members of the championship-winning team are also contributing their melodies for the choruses, including a rendition of Barmy Army, Barmy Army.