A unique opportunity has been created for people to become part of the transformation of Hull’s most amazing place.
A fund-raising drive has been launched urging people to donate or dedicate new chairs for historic Holy Trinity Church.
The scheme will contribute to the rejuvenation of the 700-year-old church and the preservation of the heritage of Hull’s finest grade one listed building by creating a fabulous space for worship, cultural events and performances to be enjoyed by all.
The appeal will give people the rare opportunity to donate a chair in an act of remembrance, celebration or as a special gift, knowing that the purpose-designed wooden chairs will be used for worship or for events for the benefit of the local community.
A donation of £150 will dedicate a chair with a special plaque fixed to the back. Holy Trinity hopes support from the congregation, supporters of the Holy Trinity development project and the community generally will enable 600 chairs to be purchased to accommodate a full range of services, events, banquets and performances.
The Vicar of Holy Trinity, the Reverend Canon Dr Neal Barnes, said: “This is the latest element of our campaign to fund the exciting changes that will place Holy Trinity at the very heart of the community in Hull.
“We’re calling on people to take up this opportunity to combine financial support to deliver our exciting vision for Holy Trinity with making a small part of the church their own.
“We believe people will respond very positively to this opportunity to have a lasting record of their donation or a dedication to a loved one within the church, especially as this is a very practical way to support our development project. Every chair donated will be in constant use, enabling us to make Holy Trinity available for a vast range of spiritual, cultural and community events.”
The first chairs have been donated by members of the Holy Trinity management group, who are driving forward the development project, and will provide elegant and comfortable seating for Holy Trinity’s Broadley Chapel, which is set aside for private prayer. Formerly the de la Pole Chapel, it was renamed after a Victorian benefactor, Isabella Broadley, funded the restoration of the neglected chapel in 1863.
John Robinson, Chair of the Holy Trinity Development Trust, said: “The Broadley Chapel is a beautiful, peaceful place ideal for private prayer and reflection.
“However, the current seating leaves a great deal to be desired, so we felt it would be fitting for the first chairs bought from this appeal to be placed within the chapel, showing on a small scale the improvement they will make to the church as a whole.
“We’re approaching 85% of our fund-raising target for phases one and two – completion of Trinity Square and the re-ordering of the Nave, which are the biggest parts of the project. It’s exciting to see the vision for a rejuvenated Holy Trinity becoming reality.
“The new chairs are a significant part of the change as they will enable us to adopt more flexible forms of worship and to seat hundreds of people comfortably for a wide range of events and performances.”
Retired headteacher John Lawson, 64, who welcomes visitors to the church as one of Holy Trinity’s team of more than 40 volunteers, said: “Many of the memorials on the church’s walls and stone floors are from the wealthier sections of society down the ages. This appeal enables many more people to have their names or those of loved ones recorded in the church at an affordable cost.”
Fellow welcomer Ray Taylor, 72, a retired store manager, said: “Quite often people come in and mention they have a family connection here – a wedding or funeral took place here or they have a relative remembered in one of the memorials within the church. They may well want to reinforce that connection by dedicating a chair.”
In addition to being able to donate a new chair, generous supporters of the transformation project can also preserve a pew.
The finely-made pews, with their elegantly-carved pew ends, will be shortened and made moveable in order to create an open, flexible space in the Nave. Dedications for the pews will be strictly limited in number and donations of at least £500 are being invited, including a specially-manufactured plaque to bear a chosen dedication.
Holy Trinity’s £4.5m development project will enable the church to replace outdated and inadequate facilities, become much more accessible to the community and host a wider range of cultural and social events. It will also create new income streams to secure a long-term sustainable future for the church as a spectacular, vibrant and welcoming place of worship and community use.
The first phase of the project, which is well under way, includes re-uniting the grounds of the church with the redeveloped Trinity Square, which is one of the key areas being renovated under Hull City Council’s multi-million pounds transformation of the public realm in the city centre.