Talent show marks milestone birthday for Horden church

published on 28 May 2024

Horden talent contest
Mary receives flowers after organising the talent show for more than 20 years

A talent show has been held to celebrate Horden Salvation Army’s 115th birthday. 

People gathered to sing, play piano and show off their skills to mark the milestone birthday and celebrate a thriving church and community centre which supports people in a variety of ways. 

It was also an opportunity to thank 88-year-old Mary Smith who is retiring having organised an annual talent show at Horden Salvation Army for more than 20 years. 

Angela Denton, Community Mission Facilitator at Horden Salvation Army, said: “Our talent show is an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate each other. We do it every year, but this year was even more special as we marked 115 years of serving the community across Horden. 

“The event was inclusive and open to anyone who wanted to share something with us. We had poetry reading, people playing instruments, piano players and singers. The youngest singer was seven and the oldest was 88. People also enjoyed coming together in the interval and sharing conversations.

Horden talent contest

“This year, we also thanked Salvation Army member and volunteer Mary, who is now 88, as she has organised this event to raise money for heart charities for many years but is taking a step back now. From next year we will name it The Mary Smith Talent Show in her honour.”  

The talent show also opens doors for people to come to other activities that Horden Salvation Army hosts. They have a packed community programme and have seen numbers attending Sunday Worship continue to grow. 

They run social groups, coffee mornings, parent and toddlers, CAMEO (come and meet each other), youth groups, mental health support groups, cookery courses and have a garden club where members of the community are encouraged to come and grow produce and make use of a green space. 

Angela continued: “People accessing our services in the community then get an invitation to church and that is how our numbers have boosted up. We encourage people of all ages to come along and this seems to be working. People are searching for something, even though they might not be sure what it is, and church can provide that to many. 

“I have been here for six years and although we have been without an officer (church leader) for a long time, we have managed to grow, which shows what The Salvation Army can do with a supportive team of volunteers. As we celebrate 115 years I want to say thank you to them as we couldn’t do it without them.” 

For more information on Horden Salvation Army visit the website or search for them on Facebook. 

Victoria has a blonde bob and a big smile, she is standing outside her local Salvation Army with her former support worker, an older woman with short fair hair, she has her arm around Victoria's shoulder. They are both looking at the camera and smiling.

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