OFFICIALS have decided to press ahead with the final stage of work to reshape the interior of Barnard Castle Parish Church.

The parochial church council at St Mary's, in Newgate, agreed to proceed with changes to the porch area behind the main entrance.

It follows the completion of a scheme to install a toilet and baby change facilities at the end of last year.

Canon Alec Harding, vicar of St Mary's, said a decision would be made as to the best time to carry out the porch work, as it would mean the main church door would be out of use for a while.

Plans include installing an inner glass door, which will enable the main wooden doors to remain open to welcome visitors, and creating space for new display boards.

The scheme also includes redecorating the church tower.

Canon Harding said: “The intention behind the works is to create a larger welcome area that invites people into the church building.

“We have long struggled with inadequate display space.

"We now have the opportunity to present the church community and its life afresh to the many who find their way into the building for baptisms, weddings and funerals and as visitors.”

He added: “The proposed work gives us an added incentive to offer a warm welcome to all those who come to use the church.”

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