Schoolboy raises £700 for new church building in Newcastle

published on 18 Aug 2022

Oliver Bullock
Oliver outside the new Newcastle City Temple Corps building

A schoolboy has raised hundreds of pounds towards a new Salvation Army building opening in the Cowgate area of Newcastle.

Nine-year-old Oliver took part in a five-mile sponsored walk raising £725 for the church and charity’s Newcastle City Temple Corps (church), which is led by Major Liz Hancock.

A new church and community centre is currently being built on the site of former Methodist Church in Stamfordham Road and is expected to open later this year. As well as being a place of worship, the centre will serve the community of Newcastle with a programme of activities and support services for those in need, with a Christian ethos behind it.

Oliver’s mum Rosey, 30, who walked with him, said: “Oliver and I are so excited to be moving into our new hall, however we have a lot of money to raise before it opens so Oliver came up with the idea of a sponsored walk. His dad Stewart is running The Great North Run in September, so there is some friendly competition between them as to who would raise the most.

Oliver Bullock with his mum Rosey and Corps officer Major Liz Hancock
Oliver with his mum Rosey (left) and Corps Officer Major Liz Hancock

“I’m delighted with him for being so pro-active and doing this for The Salvation Army. When he suggested that he wanted a target of £500 I thought he was being ambitious, so suggested £300, which he reached pretty fast, and then reached £500 and the total kept going up!”

The walk took place at the end of July, setting off from the Brunswick Methodist Church in the city centre of Newcastle, where The Salvation Army has been worshipping for the past 14 years without a building of their own. Oliver walked to the new building where some members of the corps and family met him to keep in motivated, then walked back to Brunswick Methodist Church.

Rosey continued: “Oliver loves animals, especially dogs, and Major Liz brought her dog along on the walk, which meant Oliver could walk and play with the dog, keeping him motivated. When we got to Cowgate, my mum and stepdad who live in Peterborough surprised us by meeting us and then walked back with us to Newcastle, which was a great pick-me-up for Oliver. When we arrived back at Brunswick, we were met by more members of the corps who set up a surprise party for Oliver, which was such a nice celebration. I just want to thank everyone for their support and donations, it really means a lot to myself and Oliver.”

Rosey, who had been a junior soldier at Ashington Salvation Army as a youngster, started going to church again in September 2021 with Oliver. The decision to return to The Salvation Army was following her grandma’s death, where she turned to God for support.

I’m delighted with him for being so pro-active and doing this for The Salvation Army.
Mum Rosey

Rosey said: “My Grandma used to take me to The Salvation Army as a child, and when she passed away, during this time I felt this strangest but strongest feeling and knew I was being called to go back to church, but then we went into lockdown.

“As we came out of lockdown, I got in touch with Major Liz and returned back to the Army and it felt as if I’d never left. Everyone was so welcoming and kind, that I instantly knew I had made the right decision in returning. I took Oliver with me because I remembered how much I loved Sunday School as a child. I still have fond memories and can only hope Oliver will when he is older.

“Oliver is currently doing his junior soldier classes, and he absolutely loves going to Sunday School, where he can play games, crafts and he has made some wonderful friends.”

The Corps is always trying to think of new fundraising ideas for the costs of the new building, and in the meantime, they are touching base with people in the community to let them know what’s happening.

Rosey added: “I can’t wait to get inside the new hall, it’s a really exciting time. I can’t wait to meet and work with the people in the community and welcome them through the doors, but for now, there is plenty of work that needs to be done outside of the church building.

Oliver Bullock
Oliver at Newcastle United's football stadium St James' Park

“We’ve set up a Facebook page, to share information about who we are and give updates on the building. As a corps, we are out in the community, trying to build relationships, ready for us moving in. On Palm Sunday we handed out palm crosses and cream eggs while the band played. During this time we met and had great conversations with people who lived in the area, and found people were inquisitive about the building and wanted us to touch base with them, which is great because we plan on doing this a few more times before we move in.”

Major Liz said: “I’m so proud of Oliver, one of our newest members who is currently going through his Junior Solider preparation classes. Oliver not only met his target but has more than doubled it through offline donations. Well done Oliver!”

The Salvation Army has a 142-year history in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Since 1889, the City Temple Corps was based between Bath Lane and Westgate Road, however spiralling costs associated with the building forced them to leave in 2008. For the past 14 years, they have been housed in the Brunswick Methodist Church in Brunswick Place.

For more information on the Newcastle City Temple Corps visit their Facebook page here

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