A COUPLE being filmed for a television show who are converting a disused church into a modern family home hope to have the project finished in the autumn.

Colin and Emma Clewes bought the chapel in Oxenhope 14 months ago and have been working on it since then.

Their progress has been followed by the makers of the Restoration Man and will be screened in January on Channel 4 in programme presented by architect George Clarke.

The once thriving Hawksbridge Baptist Chapel building dates from 1915 and will retain many of its original features. The work to restore it has been supported by local people.

Production company Tiger Aspect recently held a centenary fete next to the property.

"The new custodians of Hawksbridge Baptist Church invited members of the public, including those with historical connections to the church, to attend a fete in the adjacent field," said a company spokesman.

"The team from The Restoration Man were there to film the event, which included performances by Haworth Brass Band.

"There was a display of archives relating to the church there for people to look at, as well as a great many old photographs kindly lent to us for the day by members of the community.

"The occasion was very well attended, with many old congregation members present as well as clergy members.

"George Clarke spent several hours at the event and had a good chat with many members of the public, as well as making a speech to the guests.

"The local reaction has been very positive, with people pleased to see that the church is being cared for, not left to rack and ruin, and that many original features are being kept.

"Filming is going well and we probably won’t be back on site now until the build is finished and they are ready for their ‘reveal’.

"Our understanding is that this will be screened some time in January next year."

Among those present at the fete was series producer Bob Marsden, who directed the film crew during the event.

Mr Marsden now lives in London, but is originally from Oxenhope, where he spent the first 23 years of his life.

He said the church had once been a busy place of worship, but had fallen into disuse after its congregation declined.

He added that Mr and Mrs Clewes had worked hard to refurbish the building sympathetically and on a tight budget.

Mr Clewes said: "Once everything was removed it was just an empty shell.

"There were a lot of things that needed to be put right. We're about nine weeks away from being finished."