A CHURCH in a former pit village is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a series of events this year.

St Paul’s Church, the parish church of Haswell with Thornley, in east Durham, was built between 1866 and 1867.

The building in Church Street, Haswell, was dedicated to St Paul at a service conducted by the Bishop of Durham, The Right Reverend Charles Baring, on July 5 1867.

St Paul’s church was originally a chapel of rest within the parish of Shotton Colliery and Haswell, but in 1870 Haswell became a separate parish with St Paul’s as the parish church The Reverend William Oldroyd was the first vicar.

A year of celebration will start with a Burns Night Supper Special at 7pm, on Wednesday January 25.

A Joint Holy Communion Service to mark the conversion of St Paul on the road to Damascus, will be held with St Saviour’s Shotton, at 10am on Sunday, January 29.

Rev Roger Davies will lead the service, which will be followed by a lunch.

An event will be held each month leading up to the last weekend of July when there will be an exhibition of photos and mementoes together with a Victorian Tea.

The exhibition opens on Saturday, July 29 and will carry on into the following day and culminate with a Special Service of Celebration at 6pm - led by the Bishop of Jarrow, the Right Reverend Mark Bryant.

Anyone who has any photos, old magazines, mementoes or memories of the church over the last 150 years should contact church wardens Shirley Taylor on 0191-5265366 or Eddy Milestone on 0191-5264670 or e-mail mamilestone@aol.com.