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Happy couples launch appeal to restore iconic local landmark 

24 June 2024 12:03

Ten married couples met recently to launch an appeal to raise £20,000 to restore the important Lychgate at the Parish Church of St Lawrence in Longridge. The gate has special significance to all the couples, who tied the knot in the church. Often decorated with flowers, they each used the gate to provide a backdrop to their wedding photos, or to shelter from unwelcome showers on their special day. 

The couples were keen that the Lychgate should be preserved for future generations. From Bill and Adrienne, who were married in 1959, to Geoff and Kathleen who celebrate their Golden Wedding in September, to Chris and Elizabeth who got hitched in September of last year. Together the ten couples had clocked up a total of 387 years of marriage between them.

The gate is also important to the wider community, many of whom have congregated under it at the start of baptisms, funerals or visits to the churchyard. Since it was installed in 1939, it has been a gathering point for celebration and lament for many locals and is now threatened by fungal rot and wood boring beetles. The deterioration is such that a complete restoration is needed. Through the appeal, it is hoped that the wider community will help to save it.

The Lychgate was given by Agnes Ellen Smith in memory of her husband Thomas Charles Smith, who wrote the first comprehensive history of Longridge, and her brother William Thomas Tullis the son of James Tullis of Cooper and Tullis the Preston stonemason and master builders responsible for such buildings as Preston Town Hall, Preston Railway Station and the Harris Library and Museum.

There has been a church dedicated to St. Lawrence on the site since the early 1500’s. Longridge is unusual in that it has two Anglican churches. The largest of which is off Berry Lane and dedicated to St. Paul.  Longridge people have worshipped and maintained these two fine and much used buildings since 1890 – both built of Longridge Stone.

As part of the restoration appeal there is to be a Flower Festival in St. Lawrence Church over the weekend of the 13 th  & 14 th  July and other events are planned over the coming months.  Those wishing to support the appeal can do so by going to