A CHURCH community is looking forward to a fresh chapter of its work after leaving the building where they have worshipped for more than 118 years.

Leamington Road Baptist Church held its final service at the church last week after spiralling maintenance and repair costs forced members to decide to sell the historic building.

However, the church has decided on a radical approach to the future and will transfer its services to state of the art facilities at Pleckgate Community School, a decision that has been nearly two years in the making.

Among those sad to see the end of an era at Leamington Road, but optimistic for the future, is 83-year-old Barbara Riding, who acts as unofficial historian for the church.

Mrs Riding, who lives at Fairhope Court, Corporation Park was first taken to the church in the 1930s by her parents and has worshipped their ever since.

She said: “The building has countless happy memories for me and many others. We have a church community of around 80 and it was a joint decision to move away as the costs of maintaining the building were too high.

“The church was the second baptist church in Blackburn and was built in the 1890s.

“In 1911 it was deemed too small and an extension was built.

“The last big change was in 1973 when the interior was rebuilt and another happy memory was in 1995 with a host of centenary celebrations.

“Our attitude is very positive. We are looking forward to our services at Pleckgate school and all of our community groups have transferred to other premises within a short distance.”

Sunday morning services, starting at 10.30 am, will be held at Pleckgate Community School from Sunday, January 12.

The move was marked with a celebration farewell service on Sunday, December 29 and the last service in the building in Granville Road was held on Sunday, January 5.