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|The Old School and Parish Centre today, taken from the same site|
The Old Church Institute and the same site today - ie. pavement opposite Church and site of War Memorial
The old Church Institute was built in the early 1900's. There are detailed records of its opening with mention of the excitement that there was in the Parish at that time. However by the late 1970's it had seen better days and something a little more up to date with better facilities was desperately needed
It was on a wet, cold day in November 1979 that Richard de Robeck (one of our Parishioners) and Ian Bunting (our Rector at the time) met together to look at the Old Institute, the School that was being used as a Guide Headquarters and over the wall at the building that was being used as the Boys Club headquarters (now the site of St Mary's Nursing Home). The ownership of this last building was not clear at this time. The Boy's Club building proved eventually to belong to the Church and was used for a time as The Family Centre.
Many discussions and eight years later the Parish Centre as it stands today was developed on the site of the old School to replace the Old Institute. The first phase was offically opened on 12th December 1987 by the Bishop of Jarrow with the vision of "God at the Centre".
It was of course only the first stage, fund raising continued and eventually the second phase - a large brick built hall that we now call Cuthbert was built and opened on the 13th February 1994 by David Jenkins who was Bishop of Durham.
The Old School and Parish Centre today,
taken from the same site