AN appeal has been made to townsfolk to help support the continued upkeep of their parish church, which dates from medieval times.

To mark the silver jubilee of the foundation of The Friends of Houghton Parish Church Trust, trustees are seeking to bolster membership, which, in turn, would help to bring in more funds to aid the long-term maintenance of the church of St Michael and All Angels.

The prominent landmark, standing on The Broadway, Houghton-le-Spring, is more than 900-years-old and remains at the heart of the community, even for those not steeped in week-to-week church worship.

It provides a backdrop and focal point for the town’s annual Houghton Feast celebrations, Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the war memorial, in the church grounds, as well as staging many baptisms, funerals and weddings for parishioners.

Although day-to-day running costs and sustaining the pattern of worship falls to church members, the long-term maintenance and upkeep of the Grade I-listed building is seen as worthy of the support of the broader community.

Annual trust membership is £10 for individuals, £15 for families, or £30 for community groups and local businesses. Life membership is £200.

Further details are available from George Peebles, on 0191-584 1628 or Jean Henderson, on 0191-584 1967