Churchgoers reminisced and enjoyed one last coffee morning on Saturday ahead of the closure of a church – almost 170 years old.

The congregation at Chew Moor Methodist Church say that the decision to close wasn’t made “lightly”, and that there have been “many tears”.

Minister and Reverend Hilary Howarth said that the main reasons for the church closing is due to the impact of Covid, with many members not returning.

Childhood friends Joan Davis, Kathleen Aldred, John Leyland, and Pat Leyland have been coming to the church for around 80 years.

John said: “It is the last coffee morning, but it is also a celebration and so many people from the village have come to celebrate.

“It is sad, and it takes a while to accept it and let it sink in.”

John has been travelling from Horwich especially to go to the church, while Kathleen has been travelling as far as Lowton, Warrington.

The Bolton News: From left to right: Kathleen, Joan, John, and PatFrom left to right: Kathleen, Joan, John, and Pat (Image: Newsquest)

Joan says that she will miss the friendship with members the most and described being part of the church as being “one family”.

She said: “Since Covid we lost a lot of regular members.

“Some of us will go to the same church when we move on.

“We are just one family.”

John said that he will miss all the memories that have been created at the church.

He added: “For me, workers, think of the church, it’s all the people I can remember from the past, all the memories, the workers and people who we have looked up to.”

John recalled the time when preacher Fred Ainscough was at the church and says he will never forget the people he has met.

The Bolton News: The chapel as it used to be before the hall was addedThe chapel as it used to be before the hall was added (Image: Public)

He added: “I remember when Fred Ainscough was a preacher here and so many people do.

“I also remember Joan’s uncle Frank who would get up at 5am to put the heating on, where he would light the coke, so it was warm enough for the service.”

Church Secretary Jackie Horner said: “We have had a really good turn out today, which we are delighted about.

“Funds raised today will be going to the church’s charity – World Vision – towards their Ukrainian fund and the Turkey and Syria earthquake fund.

“The sad part is, it’s a shame people didn’t come sooner.

“We want it to be a celebration really of what the church stood for.

“The church is not the building; the church is the people, so it will continue.”

The historic church will host its final service at 2pm on April 9 – Easter Sunday.

If you have a story and something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at or DM me on Twitter @JournoJasmine.