Readers have paid tribute after the "sad" closure of a church which served the community for more than 60 years.

Residents were emotional after Heaton Way United Reformed Church in Harold Hill held its last service on Sunday (October 1), having hosted its first on March 3 in 1962.

A dwindling and ageing membership combined with people leaving the area contributed to Heaton Way's closure, said Reverend Alison Davis, in the role there for three years.

Chris Tuncelli said he grew up with Heaton Way and would not know where he would be without it.

"I grew up in that church," he said. "If it hadn’t been for all the love I received from Heaton Way, I don’t know what would’ve become of me - it’s a very sad day."

RELATED NEWS: Heaton Way Church in Harold Hill shuts after 60 years

Ann Newmeir joined Chris in paying tribute.

"How sad, I remember when Heaton Way opened, it was a sister church to our then congregational church in Romford," she said.

Bill Tong added that the church shutting was sad as he attended it as a child.

"I used to attend this building in the late 80s early 90s when I was at cub scouts," said Bill. "Great memories."

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

Ann Waller said hearing the news of Heaton Way's closure was "a real shock", having been a Sunday school teacher in the mid 60s.

Other readers had fond memories of Heaton Way, including where they first met close friends and relations and where they went as youngsters.

"I used to live up the road from this church when I was younger - so sad," said Holly Ann Parkinson.

Sarah-Jane Higbee added: "I used to go tap dancing on a Saturday morning."