Wesleyville Church Reconstruction Fund at 50%
800 donations to date — top donation $10,000 — $80,000 received — $80,000 needed
Article & image by Bill Hornbostel with Ted Amsden photo at bottom
In the six months since a fire damaged the Wesleyville Church, Friends of Wesleyville Village (FOWV) have raised over $80,000 in donations to repair the building. “The support from the community has been outstanding,” says Sue Stickley of FOWV. “It started on day one, April 3, when the fire occurred. Blake Holton set up the initial donation system and got a number of other businesses involved right away.” Among the businesses involved were Olympus Burger, which donated the proceeds of this year’s National Hamburger Day – over $2,500 – to the rebuilding fund. Individual donations have also been important to the fundraising effort. “Individuals have donated anywhere from $5 to, well, one person donated $10,000,” says Stickley. “At least 800 individuals have donated.” Among the individual efforts was the donation drive by Councillor Jeff Lees, Councillor Wendy Meadows, and former Councillor Karen O’Hara. Stickley says, “Out in front of Jeff Lees’ house they set up a donation stand gave everybody a carnation if they donated to Wesleyville fire recovery.” Even more money was raised through the summer from tours and country markets, as well as from the efforts of local organizations such as the Bewdley Lions’ Club and the Port Hope branch of Architectural Conservancy Ontario. “In the events this summer, were really supported by our volunteers who came out and helped sell things and managed the booth and took people on tours,” says Stickley. “It’s really been a community effort.” Most recently, Enbridge donated another $2,000 to the rebuilding fund through their Fuelling Futures Grant. “The way they frame they, it’s almost like they’re a community business,” notes Stickley. “It’s great that Enbridge feels that they’re part of the community.” While the $80,000 raised so far is a substantial sum of money, it is still a long way from what is needed to fully restore the church. “We don’t really have a final costing for the restoration, because firms are donating things like paint for the walls,” Stickley says. “It’s really fluid, but it will be no less than $160,000; we’re about halfway there.” Stickley also talks about the progress so far. “The church has been stabilized and is ready for restoration,” she says. “And we’re working with New Hope United Church very well. They’re going to recommend to their regional United Church Council that the church property be transferred to the Friends of Wesleyville Village.” “Our bottom line is the whole thing has been supported so well by individuals in the community who really care about our heritage,” says Stickley. For more information about the Friends of Wesleyville Village or to make a donation for the restoration of the Wesleyville Church, you may visit their website, wesleyvillevillage.com. You may also give donations through Holton Flowers in Port Hope or by email transfer (link).