Last thanksgiving service for Pontypool church

South Wales Argus: ALL SAINTS CHURCH  Due for posssible closure. The church was built in 1905 in Hanbury Road, nr Pontnewynydd. Pictured are Christine Gittings, (lt), and Valda Prosser (3482746) ALL SAINTS CHURCH Due for posssible closure. The church was built in 1905 in Hanbury Road, nr Pontnewynydd. Pictured are Christine Gittings, (lt), and Valda Prosser (3482746)

WORSHIPPERS of a Pontypool church are preparing their last thanksgiving service as the building is due to close.

All Saints Church, Hanbury Road, Cwmffrwdoer, opened in 1906 to accommodate 250 worshippers. But with as few as seven people attending its Sunday Service, the church is awaiting a final closing date, expected to be in March.

The church is hosting a thanksgiving service at 6pm on February 9, which is open to all.

Church warden Christine Gittings, 72, who has attended the church all her life, said: “Since people have learned the church will be closing we have had quite a number of calls from people who came here years ago and want to attend the thanksgiving service. We are expecting the church to be quite full and we plan to go out with a bang.”

Due to lack of people attending, the church has been unable to meet annual running costs of £50,000, a figure the church hasn’t been able to meet for five years.

Vicar at the church, Rev Malcolm Warren, explained in his four years at the church he hasn’t conducted a wedding service and only led three funerals.

Ms Gittings is the last of her family to be a part of the church congregation, since her grandfather and master stonemason, Charles Blackmore, helped build it. She said: “It’s sad the church will close as it’s such a lovely building, but last year we realised we just couldn’t keep it going because of lack of funds.”

The congregation’s oldest member, Valda Prosser, 84, said that at one time the church would be so busy during services they would have to bring in extra chairs, and that the flower service saw hundredsof people visit.

She said: “I’m devastated to see it close.

“We have all been like a family here and coming here has been a constant throughout my life, from being brought here as a baby.”

Local dignitaries have also been invited to the service.

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