A LONG-awaited new £1.5million church in a Bolton suburb is on the last lap to completion and now needs just £60,000 for the final fittings and fixtures.

The Harwood Methodist Church and community centre, which has more than 120 regular worshippers, is due to open its doors in December.

Building started earlier this month after the demolition of the existing building in Longsight Lane late last year.

The £1.5m for the main works was raised by the sale of land and buildings. and a series of sponsored events, including two sky dives.

The church follows the merger of two long-established Methodist congregations in Tottington Road and Longsight and the new worship and community centre has been in process since 2007.

It includes a cafe, meeting and community rooms and a large sports hall as well as a car park for up to 45 vehicles.

The new building in Longsight Lane includes wheelchair and disability access and full audio-visual equipment in the main worship area which can also be used for concerts.

Fundraising co-ordinator Alison Davies, a mother-of two and lifelong church member, said: "For years we have been planning to build a new church and community centre for Harwood. It will be a fantastic community place for all to share.

"This project is finally underway after years of planning and fundraising and we are very excited about this.

"We have raised money enough for the building but have a shortfall of £60,000 for fixtures and fittings and are looking at ways to raise this final sum of money.

"It has been a long, hard journey but we are on the last lap.

"We have raised £1.5m and just need the extra money so it is properly fitted out when we open.

"The first spade went in the ground earlier this month and the building is on track to be completed by December.

"We are all really looking forward to it."

Bradshaw ward Conservative councillor Jacqueline Radcliffe said: "The new church will be an asset to the area.

"I hope they can complete the fundraising. Good luck to them."

The congregation are currently worshipping in the former Longsight church, now refurbished as a community hall.

The former Tottington Road church building was sold to help finance the project which has a Just Giving Page for 'hmc-fixtures-fittings'.