A parish Priest, the Revd Ann Chapman, plans to ask her
congregation: "Why bother?", after a meeting called to discuss
£200,000 of repairs and refurbishment to her church went almost
Ms Chapman, Priest-in-Charge, was in despair at the apparent
lack of interest in the fate of 150-year-old, Grade II listed St
Margaret's, Hawes (above), in Wensleydale.
Now she plans to send out a questionnaire asking residents how
they might feel if the church closed, and to call another meeting
to ask Hawes the question: is there any point in continuing?
The meeting last month was to inform people about plans to
repair a leaking roof and walls, and to provide modern facilities,
including a new kitchen and disabled lavatory. "We handed out more
than 600 flyers round Hawes, inviting people to come along and find
out what our project was all about," she said.
"We did learn that there was another event on at the same time
that may have drawn people away, but the lack of support has not
left us with much hope. It's a bit scary to have to raise
As a result, the PCC will send out questionnaires to people in
Hawes, asking how they would feel if the church was not there in
five years' time. "Then we will hold a public meeting in
mid-October to pull together the results, and will take it from
there," Ms Chapman said. "The question is: if there is no interest,
then what are we doing it for?
"People tell me they want to get married here, or have a
christening or funeral, but it's about more than that. There need
to be people to use it, worship in it, and maintain it, for it to
survive. If we do not carry out this work, the building will become
But the leader of the local authority, Richmondshire District
Council, John Blackie, spoke up for the people of Hawes. "I think
it may just need a bit more time to embed it- self in people's
minds," he said. "This community is great at fund-raising, but
sometimes they are slow to start. Often it is a question of raising
awareness of the project and then . . . the support will