One OF THE fundraisers who has helped make a new disabled access at Whitchurch's St John's Methodist Church a reality is hoping people in the town will continue to help.

Jim Walwyn (pictured) says work is set to start on a ramp which will not only support disabled people but also young families and pushchairs too at the St John's Street church.

He insists the church is part of the town's heritage and says the money raised to modernise it has come from all over, but still hopes to see people at their Blackberry Fair concert.

"For many years now, the people at St John’s Methodist Church have been concerned about the state of the building," he said.

"It is a listed building which was built more than nearly 140 years ago, opening in 1879. It is iconic and belongs to Whitchurch’s heritage, and because it is such an old building it has many problems and is very expensive to maintain.

"In 2012 a 'steering committee' was formed to see if we could address some of the issues facing us and to see if we could modernise the building and make it 'fit for purpose'. There were many problems: the roof was suspect, the interior of the church lacked amenities and most of all people had difficulties getting into the building.

"We decided to concentrate on disabled access. We found that there were many people who couldn't get into our building, so we decided to do something about it.

"We appointed a firm of architects to guide us through the plethora of regulations and all the organisations we had to satisfy. Surveys have been held, consultations have been completed, so that, at long last we were ready to proceed.

"All this time the congregation has been involved in a very active programme of fundraising; jumble sales, coffee mornings, concerts and a talents initiative all helped us to raise money for our project. Many organisations have donated grants to our cause and for all that money we are very grateful.

"Our Methodist Circuit has donated £70,000 to our cause, as well as providing lots of help in many other ways. Indeed, just when we thought we had enough money to start we found out that we need a small interest free loan to take us over the line, and the circuit lent us the money."

The church will hold one of its regular concerts coming on Saturday, October 6 at Blackberry Fair Day, with the Winterley Brass Band and it starts at 7.30pm in the church.

The concert is free and includes refreshments. You may even like to leave a donation afterwards to show your appreciation.