THE new Millennium will bring a new church for Whitefield, 32 years after it moved into "temporary" accommodation.

Fund-raising efforts have paid off for the parishioners of St Michael's RC Church and they will move from the present wooden building on Ribble Drive to new church on a nearby piece of land in, it is hoped, September 2000.

Mrs Angela Still, from the fund-raising committee said: "The parish started in 1966 and we moved into a temporary building in 1968.

"The building is now, 32 years later, in desperate need of repair or replacement."

With maintenance costs spiralling, fund-raising started in earnest four years ago and to date more than £130,000 has been raised.

Last year alone £44,000 was raised from a series of jumble sales, car-boot sales, race nights and other events.

After giving permission to start the building the Diocesan Board is now contacting architects to draw up sample plans. It is expected that work will begin in 1999.

However, the fund-raising is not over as the parish aims to raise another £50,000 this year and, even the new church is completed a loan for half the cost will need to be paid back to the Diocese.

The Parish priest, Father John Rowan said: "We are of course delighted that we have got the go ahead from the Diocesan Board. It is great news for St Michael's."

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