AN EVENING of dancing, dining and auction bidding brought a church closer to its £4.2m building revamp target.
Locks Heath Free Church’s gala dinner and auction was hailed a success as it raised £11,000 for the church’s project, which aims to build a new church and community facility on land next to the existing church building in Hunts Pond Road.
Guests, including Fareham MP Suella Fernandes, had a three-course dinner at The Solent Hotel, Whiteley, last month.
Associate minister of Locks Heath Free Church, Tim Hancock, said: ‘It was a great success.
‘We had a good number of folk join us from the community to raise some funds.’
As well as a live auction, there was a silent auction at the black tie event which used iPads to help guests place bids on items ranging from boots signed by Steven Gerrard to a trip to Classic FM.
The opportunity of having lunch with Fareham MP Miss Fernandes was another lot which sold for £150.
Miss Fernandes, who is looking forward to the lunch in the new year, said: ‘It was great fun, a good atmosphere.’
‘Children and vulnerable families know of their and the church’s sense of community and of their generosity.’
All the money raised is going towards a £4.2m project to create more space for the church’s ever-growing congregation.
About 800 people come into the church every week.
Mr Hancock said, ‘We’re getting to the point where the physical space is limiting what we can do.’
The plans include refurbishing the church so that it can be a children’s and youth facility and the new building will have a coffee shop, a counselling room and a space for concerts and outreach events.
Many other fundraisers have taken place already, bringing the church up to its current £1.5m total.
A Three Peaks Challenge saw nine people raise £9,300 and senior minister Mark Madavan did a parachute jump which raised £6,300.
Mr Hancock encouraged people to get involved and show their support.
He said: ‘It’s great to be cheered on and we’re thrilled that people want to be a part of it.’