THE congregation of a Saddleworth church is invited to appear in its own special version of antiques show Bargain Hunt.
But before BBC expert and auctioneer Caroline Hawley visits St Thomas’s, Delph, church members are asked to hunt in the attic, the cellar and even down backs of sofas for any potential ‘treasure’.
The church raised nearly £500,000 for extensive repair and re-building work as featured in the July edition of the Independent. But the final bill has come in £60,000 over budget.
In a bid to meet costs, parishioner Julie Dawson contacted Caroline to help out.
Now on Monday, October 26, Caroline, who runs Hawley’s Auctioneers and Valuers with husband John in North Yorkshire, will be casting an expert eye over heirlooms and artefacts donated to go under the hammer next month.
Church members who would like to provide an item of gold, silver or costume jewellery can take it to the church on October 25, between 2pm-4pm.
Alternatively contact Rev John Rosedale (01457 874209) to arrange collection from your home.
Small items of antique furniture are also welcome. Any unsold items at auction will be sold via other means.
Caroline, who has also appeared on Flog It!, told the Independent: “I am delighted to help.
“I met Julie before when I came to Delph to give a talk and I am really looking forward to it.
“It is always a thrill because you don’t know what people will bring.”
Caroline has waived any comission fees so all proceeds from the sale on November 21-22 will go to St Thomas’s.
After her valuation visit, lots will be added to the sale catalogue approximately two weeks prior to the auction.
Both the sale and catalogue will be available to view on the internet. Bids can also be made online:
Buyers are currently permitted to attend auctions in person. However, Caroline said: “Even if guidelines have changed people need not worry because there is always lots of interest online.”
Rev Rosedale said: “For many years St Thomas’s has not been a church to hold fundraising events and has encouraged the congregation to give willingly from their pockets.
“The initial target was £500,000 and with the majority of the funds pledged and received, the project began and finally the builders arrived on site in October 2019.
“Grants amounting to £35,600 were received from Garfield Weston, The National Churches Trust, The Treeside Trust and The Duchy of Lancaster.
“Unforeseen problems then accrued as not just the floorboards but the joists in the church hall required replacement
“More seriously, the reinforced concrete floor laid in the church in 1966 was failing and needed significant work.
“Our financial contingencies were wiped out almost within weeks of the project starting.
“Then along with the rest of the nation we were blighted by Covid-19.
“On the surface not a major issue, but hidden costs of insurance, secure lockup fees for the church furniture and delays in building increased the costs.
“In August 2020, it was recognised while the congregation of 80 people had raised the majority of the funds, with the increased costs we were now £60,000 short of the new total and would not be able to pay.
“The call went out for more financial support and one particular response helped us to think again, not cash but unwanted valuables that we could take to auction.
“The Biblical principle for this can be found in the Old Testament, when in rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem the people brought their silver and gold and also furnished the temple.”
The Church Street new build has seen fully accessible toilets installed at both ends of the building, a new kitchen in the middle, accessible from the church and the hall.
There is a small meeting room to offer for community use by the police and other organisations.
The building is fully accessible from the new door on Church Street, between the hall and church.