Remains moved from church

St Catherine of Siena RC Church, Newton Road, Lowton
St Catherine of Siena RC Church, Newton Road, Lowton

CHURCH leaders have sought to calm residents’ fears after the removal of remains from the grounds of a now-closed building caused concern.

Worried residents posted on social media after work began on the garden of remembrance surrounding the Church of St Catherine of Siena in Lowton, which has been forced to shut its doors.

The grounds of St Catherine of Siena Church in Lowton

The grounds of St Catherine of Siena Church in Lowton

However, the Archdiocese of Liverpool has now reassured people all the correct procedures have been followed and the families of people whose ashes were scattered there have been kept in contact throughout the process. Families who wish to have the ashes re-interred will see their loved ones laid to rest either in the church graveyard at All Saints in Golborne or at St Lewis’ Church in Croft.

A spokesman from the archdiocese said: “Following the closure of the Church of St Catherine of Siena, Lowton, and prior to the demolition of the former church building, the Archdiocese of Liverpool gave relatives of those with ashes interred in the garden of remembrance the opportunity of exhumation of the remains.

“A number of people have requested exhumation and the appropriate licences from the Ministry of Justice have been obtained.

“The first phase of re-interments has been completed and further phases are at an advanced stage of planning.

A number of people have requested exhumation and the appropriate licences from the Ministry of Justice have been obtained

Archdiocese spokesman

“Close consultations are taking place with the families about the arrangements for relocation of the cremated remains of their loved ones and a number of memorial services are being held to remember all concerned.”

The decision to remove the ashes from the garden of remembrance faced some criticism on Facebook, with some Lowton residents also expressing their sadness at the loss of the church and its grounds.

The church, built in 1959 and known locally as the Threepenny Bit Church due to its distinctive architecture, was shut for worship in 2011, with the archdiocese blaming the poor state of the building for the closure.

Church leaders decided it was economically unviable to carry out the major repair work needed, which included a full electrical rewiring.