Crash damaged church hall reopens in time for Christmas

A village church hall has reopened in time for Christmas – months after being seriously damaged by a hit and run driver.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 1:38 pm
From left to right, the Rev Vernon Cuthbert, Lorraine Symington, parishioner Terry Gregory and the Mayor, Coun Norman Dick cut the ribbon to the newly-refurbished Cleadon Old Schoolroom

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Norman Dick officially reopened the Old Schoolroom at All Saints, Cleadon, nearly nine months after a stolen taxi crashed into the building on Sunderland Road.

The driver and occupants of the black taxi fled the scene of the crash, in the early hours of Sunday, March 31.

No-one was hurt in the incident, but substantial damage was done to the building which was closed on the advice of structural engineers .

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The crash came just hours after a party to celebrate the church’s 150th anniversary had finished.

The Rev Vernon Cuthbert, parish priest at All Saints, said: “We were thankful that no-one was hurt at the time, as we’d just finished a ceilidh and the Old Schoolroom was packed with people having a pie and pea supper only hours before the crash.

“The building is used by a variety of different groups and societies, and we’re delighted that things can get back to normal.”

The Bishop of Durham, the Right Rev Paul Butler, attended a celebratory anniversary event at All Saints the day after the crash in March, and was back for the reopening.

Rec Cuthbert added: “We were thrilled that Bishop Paul was able to join us for a Christingle service on the day the Mayor was kind enough to re-open the Old Schoolroom.”

The Old Schoolroom can be hired by emailing [email protected]