The Catholic community of Helston came together to celebrate last week on the 50th anniversary of its church.

A service was held at St Mary's Church, led by current priest in residence Father James Courtney.

He was helped by Father Brian Kenwrick, parish priest of St Mary's sister church in Falmouth, with diocesan Bishop Mark O'Toole celebrating mass.

There was a full congregation for the special service, with regular worshippers joined by members of other churches in the area for the occasion, include Canon David Miller and Rev Dorothy Noakes from Helston's parish church of St Michael’s,Stephanie and Peter Gordon from Breaney Methodist Chapel and Lucy Matthews from Sithney Parish Church.

The service included a performance from some of the children of the congregation - Vivian and Cassie Pryor, Joel Murray, Pandora and Rupert Cox and Honey Bean - who signed the Hail Mary led by Meg Trevaskis.

Prayers were read by Liz Beston and as part of the offertory gifts, Cynthia Millward presented the original gavel used at the church's dedication ceremony 50 years ago.

Theresa Neal also presented a framed list of early donors who contributed to the building of the church in 1968.

Also joining the service were a number of Helston's former priests and others known to the congregation: Father Gilmour McDermott of Liskeard (formerly Truro), Father Anthony O’Gorman of Newquay (formerly Falmouth), Father Phillip Dyson of Penzance, Father John Gilbert of Truro (formerly Helston), Father Mark Skelton of Teignmouth/Shaldon (formerly Helston), Father Jon Bielawski of Plymouth (formerly Helston) and Father David Annear of Launceston.

Assisting the bishop was Father Keith, his secretary and on the altar were parishioners Sister Cosmos, Nick Kiszczuk, Chris O’Brien, Simon Mack and Cassie Pryor.

The altar and vestments for the service were prepared by Peter Byrne, Sacristan, assisted by Marian Marsh with the altar linens and Joan Taylor and Ann Fishwick with the altar vessels.

Flower arrangements in blue, yellow and white decorated the church for the special occasion, courtesy of parishioners Rena McAllister and Pat Bowley.

Peter Griffiths played the organ for the hymns, which included “How Lovely Is Your Dwelling Place” - the theme for the evening's celebrations.

Afterwards, everyone attending the service was invited back to the church hall, where they were greeted by Bishop Mark and encouraged to enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and a spread of food.

A four-layered celebration cake had been made by Susan Plant, decorated with white doves and a gold cross made by Susan’s sister Beth Rowell.

Memories were shared with the help of display boards showing the history of the church, complete with photos, which had been prepared by Theresa Neal and Vincent Fromentin.

For four parishioners there it was a particularly nostalgic moment. Joan Taylor, Frieda Curnow, Theresa Neal and Cynthia Millward recalled on how Mass used to be held in the hall they were now standing in, before the church was built.