St Paul’s church in Ramsbottom to undergo renovation

St Paul's Church

St Paul's Church - Credit: Archant

Landmark building set for repairs

Les Norris outside St Paul’s Church

Les Norris outside St Paul’s Church - Credit: Archant

Few people have lived in Ramsbottom longer than Les Norris. Now 83, he moved to the town when he was just three months old in 1931 and has seen plenty of changes since then. The house he was brought up in – the former police station – has been demolished, the cobbled streets have almost all gone and the old market he remembers visiting with its wooden stalls lit by kerosene lamps is a part of the town’s history.

And now he is involved in another change to the town which will see one of its landmark buildings shrouded in scaffolding later this year. Les is warden and treasurer at St Paul’s church on Bridge Street where an appeal to parishioners and the wider town has raised the £15,000 necessary to fund essential repair work.

‘The top of the spire is leaning,’ Les said. ‘It is inspected regularly and at the last check it was decided that it needed to be put right and there was a wonderful response to our appeal – we managed to raise the money in just nine months.’

The renovation work has been delayed by a requirement to carry out further checks on the tower but Les added: ‘That has all been done now so we should be able to start the work in the spring.

Bolton Street

Bolton Street - Credit: Archant

‘The spire has been there since the 1850s so it’s no surprise it needs a bit of work because that’s the way it is with buildings like this, there’s always something that needs doing. I’m told it will be the heating next.’

The parish room at the back of the church, which was built by cleverly re-cycling some old pews, is in use almost every day by a diverse range of groups including a pensioners’ aerobics class and a toddlers’ group. Les, who sells bacon butties there on a Saturday morning, added: ‘Ramsbottom has changed over the years I’ve known it but it still has a vibrant village community feel.’


Ramsbottom - Credit: Archant

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My favourite things

Les Norris worked as a lawyer in Ramsbottom for years and is a founder member, and current president, of the Summerseat Players. We asked him to choose his three favourite things about the town:

1. ‘The East Lancs Railway is a great asset to the town and it brings people here who might not otherwise know about Ramsbottom.’

2. ‘I like the cobbled streets, although there aren’t many left now.’

3. ‘There’s a very wide variety of shops, cafes and restaurants.’