A COMMUNITY group has launched an appeal to transform a church into a village hall.

Read and Simonstone Village Hall Community Team have asked people to offer donations to buy the United Reformed Church in Read.

The Christian Church was formerly a Victorian boys and girls school in the 19th century and remained so until the 1960s when it was converted into a church.

Secretary of Read and Simonstone Village Hall Community Team, Geoff Hodbod, said: “We’re raising funds to buy the church so it remains a community asset.

“This building is being bought by the community to be run by the community, for the community.

“Read and Simonstone is the only small community in the Ribble Valley that doesn’t have a village hall.

“So far we have raised £11,100 but we need to raise £140,000 to buy the church.

“The threat is that if we don’t raise enough money to buy the church it will most likely be sold to whoever else has the money to buy it.

“Most likely a developer will take over to demolish it or build houses on the site.

“We really need donations from locals and local businesses. It honestly doesn’t take much.

“If you can get 200 people putting in £1 a week in a year that would equate to £10,000.

Donor Jean Burnett-Hirst gave £10,000 to the appeal as part of her will after she died.

Mr Hodbod added: “She had a big connection with the building and wanted to leave something behind.

“When it was a church she attended as a parishoner for many years.

“Simonstone parish council gave us £100 for administration costs and have been very supportive in giving us crowd funding advice and wanting us to succeed.”

Cliffton Pollard, 71, Baufort Close, who appeared in more than 20 plays at the church, said: “I am a very keen supporter of the appeal.

“It is part of the village’s history and it was built when the terrace houses were being built by the people in the mills.”

To contribute visit https://www.gofundme.com/4c84w-read-simonstone-village-hall