A RIBBLE Valley church is set to reopen following six weeks of refurbishment work.

St Peter’s CE Church in Simonstone was closed at the start of the school summer holidays for the windows to be replaced.

The church building dates from 1879 and is owned and used by the nearby primary school.

Members of the congregation have been meeting at St John’s Church in Read while the work has been carried out.

The project is set to resume during the half- term and could take up to a year to be completed.

The Whalley Road church was founded in 1841 and is part of a United Benefice with the church in Read.

The Grade-II Listed building originally served as a school and a church before the primary school was built in 1976. Lancashire County Council has provided thousands of pounds towards the cost of the project.

The windows are being replaced because of the deterioration of the wood and the need for better insulation.

The church is currently without a vicar after Rev Alan Sowerbutts stepped down on Easter Sunday after 15 years in the post.

Mike Chew, a member of the parochial church council, said: “The congregation have welcomed the project and it has been nice meeting as a united benefice over the last few weeks.

“It’s a big project and it’s a pity that it wasn’t able to have been completed in the six weeks.

“It has now been put on hold until the half term and it could take up to a year for it to be finished.

“We are grateful that the school and LCC have decided to take this on and I think it will make a big difference. The service on Sunday will be the first since it reopened and we are expecting around 80 people there.

“Maybe it was wrong to ever think that it would be completed in six weeks but I hope that once the work resumes that it will not take too long in the end.

“A meeting with the school is set to take place soon and the PCC will be asking how far the project has come and how long there is still left to go.”