A WASHBURN Valley church is enjoying a new lease of life following a £40,000 refurbishment.

Two years ago Norwood Methodist Chapel and Retreat Centre was on the brink of closure.

A number of pending expenses, including the cost of replacing a broken boiler, had left the future of the building - which opened in 1926 and has links to the very beginning of Methodism in the valley - in serious jeopardy.

A Circuit Meeting of the Wharfedale and Aireborough Circuit, however, unanimously agreed to work to keep the chapel open and pledges of financial support were made by local churches and individuals.

Those funds enabled a major redevelopment project, started in 2018, to take place while a Friends group was launched to provide voluntary support and organise regular events.

The work involved:

*Removing the pews from the chapel and replacing them with more comfortable, and movable, seating

*Extending and re-fitting the retreat centre's kitchen and making the toilet facilities fully accessible

*Repairing the boiler and heating systems for the chapel and adjacent cottage, which has now been let - to bring in a regular income - following decoration

*Redecorating and re-carpeting the chapel and retreat centre.

A spokesperson for the chapel's management team said: "Now, with the current refurbishment, the chapel and retreat centre has taken on a new lease of life and the role of the Friends of Norwood is also critical to achieving a sound financial basis for its future.

"The refurbishment has greatly improved the appearance and flexibility of the centre making it a perfect place for meetings, events and concerts.

"Plans for events for 2020 have been drawn up and these include another folk evening, a choir from Northampton who have offered to put on a concert in Otley in May on behalf of Norwood, an afternoon tea and concert in July, and various talks in the summer and autumn on topics ranging from veterinary practice to Kindertransport.

"There will also be 'quiet days' in February, April and October where people can go and experience peace and tranquillity for a day."

The centre, which stands on a picturesque spot overlooking Lindley Wood Reservoir, can be booked by groups or companies for a day and is also available for children's parties. The chapel and centre can also be booked, as a place of worship, for weddings.

For more details contact Sue on 07946 423309.