THE story of a remarkable family is to be relived to celebrate an Atherton church’s anniversary.

Katherine Isabella Fletcher performed a ceremony when the Chief Stone of St Michael and All Angels Church in Howe Bridge was laid on the July 5 1875.

The church will be holding an ‘open and gift day’ to mark the 137 years since it was consecrated in February 1877 and Robert Cornish will give the talk about his family.

Parishioner Richard Sivill said: “To mark the stone being laid, the builder, William Winnard of Wigan, presented Katherine with a silver trowel and a stonemasons mallet.

“The trowel remains within the Fletcher family to this day but the mallet disappeared until Robert purchased it recently.”

Robert will also talk about his grandmother Agnes Mary Fletcher, the only daughter of Katherine and Ralph Fletchers’ eight children who was born in Howe Bridge in 1885.

She joined the VADs (voluntary aid detachment) in 1912 and was one of the first nurses to be sent to No 16 General Hospital, Le Treport, in France in June 1915.

Richard said: “In November it was reported that the medals awarded to Miss Fletcher had been sold at auction to an ex-nursing service officer in New Zealand for £620.

“Normally a trio of medals like these would be worth about £65 but because they had been awarded to a woman and contained an oak leaf clasp for bravery they had a rarity value.”

Robert will give his talk at St Michael’s at 2pm on February 8 as part of the open day which begins at 11am.