A church that has been open for more than 60 years has closed its doors after an "emotional" day for its congregation.

Heaton Way United Reformed Church in Harold Hill, which held its first service on March 3 1962, welcomed people for the last time at 3pm on Sunday (October 1).

Reverend Alison Davis, in the role for three years, said a dwindling and ageing membership combined with people moving away from the area contributed to the church's closure.

"Helping the church take the very difficult decision to close," was her hardest moment at Heaton Way, Revd Davis said. 

Speaking to the Recorder before the closure on Friday (September 29), she said that the final service would be emotional for people who had attended beyond her three-year term as reverend.

"It will be emotional for some people because they've been associated with the building for a lot longer than that."

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Heaton Way was once a community hub, Revd Davis said, especially in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

The church and the community in the 60s and 70s successfully campaigned to get a crossing built after a child's death in Straight Road, Revd Davis claimed.

She said it was a tough decision to close the church, but one outside their control.

"It's never easy to do that because people feel sometimes [...] it's their fault that they've failed," she said. "But they haven't - they've been faithful in trying to keep things going and it's just not worked as it might."

Heaton Way used to run an after school club, a parent and toddler group and host meetings for Romford Boxing Club.

But Revd Davis said that due to people moving away, a changing community and places such as schools holding their own activities and clubs, the church's use had declined.

“We hope as this expression of the church dies in Heaton Way that another expression may be born. That’s outside our control, but that’s what we hope and pray,” Revd Davis added.