A celebrity concert gala has been organised for a County Durham church to raise funds for a new roof.

Freda Billson, a frequent concert organiser, has been 'sweet-talked' into setting up one more event in the area.

St Helen's Church in Bishop Auckland is a Grade One listed building and it dates back to the 12th century.

The roof has been in need of repair and each churchgoer is coming up with methods of raising money.

The Northern Echo: St Helen's Church

Mrs Billson said: "The reason I am organising this concert is that the church itself requires a new roof.

"Each churchgoer is coming up with some idea of how to help with the fundraising.

"I have organised many good concerts in the past but reached a point approximately ten years ago that I felt I had reached an age where I should cease all the hard work involved in doing this kind of thing.

"I have been sweet-talked into setting up one more concert.

"Three artists are involved in taking part in this concert."

The artists include Alison Hudson, mezzo soprano, making a welcome return to the North East after singing in concerts across the region. 

Peter Coulson, baritone, is a well known singer in the region. He is a bass lay clerk at Durham Cathedral.

Rounding off the trio is Father Mark Mawhinney who was the director of music at Barnard Castle School.

In recent years he has left teaching, been ordained and is now a priest.

The tickets for the event, on Saturday, March 16 at 7pm, are now on sale for £10 each, which includes canapes.

There will also be a raffle and a wine bar on the night.

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To get tickets you can call 01388-604406 or text 07855-439141.

The oldest surviving part of the church, the two easternmost bays of the nave, were built in 1120.

The original door to the church remains, making it "one of the oldest doors in England".