In 1997/1998 the updating of the vestibule was being considered. At that time the existing one was dark, cold and claustrophobic. There were.suggestions that not only could we make the church much more open and inviting to anyone passing, but that young children could be taken out by their mothers on Sundays and the service could be relayed to them. So, on meeting with approval, the work was started.
To accomplish these two ideas the vestibule needed to be enlarged, so a few pews were removed from right across the back of the Church and soundproof glass put in. To emphasize the open nature of the church and to prevent draughts, a pair of glass doors was put in a short distance from the main outside doors. The removal of the pews also gave us a small meeting room on the left hand side of the vestibule and a room for a toilet on the right. Frank Nunn, the previous minister at that time, was the Chairman of the Property Committee, and having previous experience of alterations to Church properties, was often called upon to discuss problems or difficulties with the builders.
If the children were to be in the new vestibule, a new carpet was needed, and in true Free Church fashion “we needed a serviceable colour”. A person who remains anonymous suggested red would be good for the children, and so it came to pass! After quite a few hold-ups, the official opening was set for Oct. 16th 1999 and it seemed that Betty Boothroyd, at that time the Speaker of the House of Commons, would be an appropriate person to ask as she remembered how she used to run down to our Church for breakfast every Christmas morning from Eastborough. Unfortunately, she was unable to attend due to Parliamentary business, so we asked the Baroness Lockwood of Dewsbury D.L. and she was very happy to accept.
It seemed to take a long time, but today we are now reaping the benefit and are able to open our doors three days a week for those who need help or just need someone who will listen. This is quite apart from the facilities being appropriate for mothers to share in worship while their children are in a safe environment.