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Community church hopes to save former Harleston Club

The Apollo in Harleston
The Apollo in Harleston

A community church is keeping its fingers crossed that its offer to save a Harleston club from demolition will be successful.

Hope Church, which currently meets in Diss and Harleston, has offered the full guide price of £380,000 for the former Apollo Club in Harleston.

But the owners say they are still considering other options.

At the moment, the church, which has 280 members, meets at its base in Vinces Road in Diss and at Archbishop Sancroft School in Harleston, every Sunday.

The Apollo was at the heart of Harleston life for 30 years and hosted hundreds of Christening celebrations, wedding receptions, wakes and parties.

It also hosted some of the world’s top darts and snooker players for tournaments.

It closed on New Year’s Eve 2016, with its contents sold off last summer.

An application submitted to South Norfolk Council by FSB Developments to demolish the building was granted, amid fears it might become vandalised.

Hope Church wants to turn the club in Mendham Lane into a new community hub, along similar lines to its venue in Diss.

Graham Blake of Hope Church
Graham Blake of Hope Church

“Our Diss venue is very much a community venue and this is what we are hoping to recreate in Harleston,” said team leader Graham Blake.

“In Diss, we hold everything from line dancing, pilates and children’s boxing and the rooms are also hired to others, such as the NHS.

“The Apollo would become a base for our community activities in Harleston.”

The origins of Hope Church began in August, 1947, when a Christian evangelist came to Diss.

In 1948, the Assemblies of God Church was formed.

In 1985, it was decided to establish a new church called Diss Christian Community Church (DCS) and the Vinces Road site was purchased.

In October, 2017, DC3 became part of the Pioneer Network of Churches and Hope Church was launched the following February.

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