• St. Mary the Virgin, Ellenbrook

St. Mary the Virgin, Ellenbrook

When the Rev Kathryn Carmyllie became vicar for the parish of St Mary the Virgin in Ellenbrook, she knew that the biggest task after ministering to the needs of parishioners would be the church roof. As it turned out, a contribution of £59,458 from the Landfill Communities Fund made all the difference.

Once a village in its own right, Ellenbrook is now part of a desirable and fast-growing residential area straddling the A580 Manchester to Liverpool road. The Grade II listed church of St Mary the Virgin was erected in 1758. It is quite small, seating about 200 people. It was built to serve as a chapel of ease for the main church of St Mary's, Eccles some miles away, to enable workers to go to church without having to walk for miles. Over the years, it was subject to a number of alterations and additions.

Unfortunately, a Victorian design fault in a valley between two roof ridges meant that, for many years, water had been seeping into the structure and causing wet rot. As the Rev Carmyllie said: "This gave rise to a permanent musty smell and the church always felt damp inside - not the most welcoming atmosphere in the world, even when the congregation is so warm and friendly!"

What happened next was an intense period of work to change things and get the roof fixed. This involved close cooperation with Viridor Credits with regard to funding and the appointment of an architect and builder approved for the renovation of a listed building. Importantly, it engendered a great community spirit in Ellenbrook as additional fundraising was undertaken with gusto.

"The church is now warm and watertight and I am very grateful for Viridor Credits' generosity," the Rev Carmyllie added. "Of course there is always more to do on an old building, with three cracks in the baptistery wall to deal with, and a memorial garden to re-landscape in a second round of improvements, but the biggest task is complete".

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