A LOCAL priest has commended the ‘big hearted’ people of Stabane after a fundraising effort for a church restoration topped £100,000.
Fr Declan Boland this week described the figure as ‘a truly tremendous start’ and says he remains optimistic that the renovation project at the Church of the Immaculate Conception will be completed in the near future.
Beginning at the end of 2016, the restoration project has gone from strength to strength, culminating in September with a concert from internationally acclaimed classical musical trio ‘The Priests’.
All monies raised will go toward a new roof, restored stained glass windows and new exterior stonework.
“The big hearted people of Strabane have been truly phenomenal,” Fr Boland said. “I cannot begin to express my gratitude with how the church community has pulled together. If someone said to me last year that we would raise over £100,000, I would have said it couldn’t possibly be.”
Altogether, the money was raised from church collections, parish activities and anonymous donations.
Fr Boland says the church will continue it’s fundraising efforts for a number of years to come, to ensure this work can be completed.
“It is clear the congregation has an immense pride in the building, which is reflected in this generosity,”
Fr Boland continued. “This time last year we had little over £3,000 raised. It fills me with confidence for fundraising in the future.”
He added, “We held a number of small fund-raising events during the year but it is fair to say The Priests coming to our small parish was extra special,.
“We are a small parish but since the restoration fund got underway last September there has been a wave of support from the entire community.”
With significant funds still to be raised in coming years, Fr Boland is more than optimistic.
“Such a successful year puts added wind to our sails,” he said.
“Our fund-raising drive has surpassed our wildest dreams and I can only emphasise again my gratitude to the people of Strabane.”