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Towering birthday celebration for Blackburn church
3:00pm Friday 1st March 2013 in Blackburn
A CHURCH tower is set to ring in its centenary with four days of celebrations.
St Silas’s Church, in Preston New Road, Blackburn, will host the festivities on Thursday, May 9, with events aimed at all ages centred on the 104 ft high tower.
The celebrations will kick off on the same holy day, Ascension Day, that saw the foundation stone laid in 1913.
Canon Arthur Ranson, of St Silas’s church, said: “We are all really proud of the fact that this tower is celebrating such an important day.
“In an era when the Christian population is declining in England, it is a major achievement for this tower to have made it to this anniversary.”
The main celebration day, Saturday, May 11, includes guided tours, a talk about the church clock, which was installed in 1914, and the chance to see extensive views of Blackburn from the tower.
A treasure hunt for all ages will also be staged, with a small prize given to the winner, with the day concluding with a special service of Choral Evensong at 3pm.
Canon Ranson said: “The tower is a local icon and is a huge part of a building that means a lot to the Christian community of Blackburn.
“It is of great architectural worth and its prominence in the town makes it a landmark for everyone.
“The whole congregation is looking forward to the day.”
A peal of bells will ring out on the first celebration day, with local schoolchildren being invited up the tower the following day.
Ruth Loft, a long-standing member of the church’s congregation, said: “We are very excited about the centenary and are looking forward to organising the celebrations. We are hoping that we will see a lot of people there.
“The centenary is really important and I think it is so nice for the parish and so reassuring for people to hear the bells ring out.
“It’s a great opportunity to get people through the door again, invite them back to church, and show them what a lovely place it is.”
The tower was built 15 years after the church, at a cost of £6,000, with its bells being installed in 1982. As a result of lack of funds, a tower and a spire were omitted from the original church construction, which was completed between 1894 and 1898.