ARMED with mops, brushes and dusters, volunteers were out in full force last week to give Langholm parish church a spring clean.
More than a dozen people turned up to help clean the church after repair work, including members of the church and its choir and members of the public not affiliated to the church.
Scaffolding for the work, including roof repairs, some repointing and work to the bell tower came down last Tuesday and it was but a day later that the volunteers descended to give it a good sprucing from top to bottom.
“The place hasn’t had a full clean since before the pandemic,” said church elder Ellen Rae.
“There’s been five of us volunteering to come in once a week cleaning the downstairs but the upstairs has not seen a mop, brush or duster for some time.
‘So everyone who has come today has been hoovering, washing, dusting everything: the walls, floors, stairs, even disinfecting the seat pads for the pews because we’re now allowed to have them back in place – it’s been a great turnout to do it all.”
This included Patricia McTaggart who was polishing the brass.
“I’m part of the church and I wanted to help with whatever was needed,” she said. “I can’t move about as much so I won’t do as much cleaning but I’ll do what I can.”
The outside building work is almost complete, with the bell’s clapper due to be installed in September.
Once it is in place, it will be rung for the first time in about six years and it will be done electronically rather than by a bellringer, which will be a first for the church.
For now, though, seeing people, like Patricia, venturing down to the place of worship to help clean has been really appreciated.
“It’s really heartening,” added Ellen. “It means a lot that people have come to get involved, making lighter work of what has been needed to freshen up the place. Hopefully, more restrictions will be lifted soon.”
The need for repairs came about as a result of a survey conducted by construction company K2 Specialist Services (UK) Ltd in March of last year.
It showed serious deterioration to the outside of the building, with some work identified as urgent.
The work was said to have cost about £45,000, with £20,000 from church trusts and a loan and another £25,000 from fundraising.