7:42am Monday 21st April 2014
A PONTYPOOL church held its final service yesterday as the granddaughter of the man who helped to build it closed the doors for the last time
The cornerstone of All Saints Church, on Hanbury Road in Cwmffrwdoer, was laid on August 8, 1905, and it opened in 1906 to accommodate 250 worshippers.
But the church held its final service yesterday after it was served a date of closure last month due to dwindling number of worshippers.
Church warden Christine Gittings, 72, who has attended the church all her life, was the last person to lock up, following the Easter Sunday Service.
She said: “It was an uplifting service even though it was a sad occasion.
“With around 40 people attending it was one of the biggest congregations on a Sunday that we have had in quite some time.”
Ms Gittings’ grandfather, Charles Blackmore, was a master stone mason, who helped to build the church, and she was the last granddaughter of his to attend.
She said: “Knowing that my grandfather helped to build the church, as I locked up for the last time it was a very moving moment and brought tears to my eyes.”
She said that following the service, which led by Rector of Pontypool, Rev Canon Brian Pippen, the congregation shared memories about the church.
The decision to close the church came as the church members had been unable to meet the £50,000 a year running costs, due to the lack of attendance.
The vicar at the church, Rev Malcolm Warren, said that in his four years at the church he had conducted no weddings and only three funerals.
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.
But in recent years the Sunday congregation was as low as seven people.
While Clair (CORR) Francis, 24, the church’s youngest member, had hoped to get married there.
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