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£150,000 restoration for historic St Chad's Church, Bradford
7:00am Friday 28th September 2012 in News
Restoration work to historic St Chad’s Church in Bradford has begun – 99 years since it came into being.
The £150,000 renovation scheme is being watched over by Bradford’s most devoted priest, Canon Ralph Crowe, who began caring for the building and its people 43 years ago.
Now aged 80, Canon Crowe is the longest-serving incumbent priest in the Bradford diocese and spoke lovingly about more than four decades at St Chad’s, on Toller Lane.
“I can remember how I felt the first day I walked into St Chad’s.
“I felt whoever worships here is very fortunate and will be at peace with God,” said Canon Crowe, who still lives nearby with Joyce, his wife of 56 years.
So taken was he with the big, Basilica-shaped building that he never left.
“I doubt I shall be known for anything else,” Canon Crowe joked before explaining the glory of his church.
“Somehow there is a special prayerfulness about St Chad’s.
“It’s had precarious times, but it’s a great survivor and there is a core of people who work their socks off to keep it going.
“We have some 50 worshippers every Sunday and schoolchildren come here to study it and are delighted.”
Canon Crowe said while the surrounding community had altered dramatically during his time at St Chad’s, there was still local harmony.
“The area has changed considerably and is now 80 per cent Islamic,” he said.
“But we all get on very well. I’ve always had more in common with religious people who really believe, than with those who don’t.”
The renovation scheme will last 20 weeks and includes roofing, re-pointing, guttering and drainage improvements, said David Rayner who is co-ordinating an appeal for funds.
“We have had an English Heritage grant of £63,000 and we’re now in sight of the total needed.
“It’s an impressive building which contains some glorious mosaics, but has not had a thorough overhaul since it was completed,” Mr Rayner said.