Kensal Green church where QPR was founded returns to football roots with £1k sports hub donation for 175th annniversary

St John the Evangelist Church in Kilburn Lane

St John the Evangelist Church in Kilburn Lane - Credit: Archant

A Kensal Green church is returning to its footballing roots to celebrate a milestone anniversary.

Fr David Ackerman of St John the Evangelist Church in Kilburn Lane

Fr David Ackerman of St John the Evangelist Church in Kilburn Lane - Credit: Archant

St John’s The Evangelist Church, in Kilburn Lane, is marking the beginning of its 175th anniversary this year with a donation of £1,000 to a local sports hub.

The Queen’s Park Gardens’ Football Academy, run by the Queen’s Park Gardens Community and Sports Hub, manages a community amateur sports club with 160 young players.

The church helped to form a football team in the 19th century that would go on to become Queen’s Park Rangers.

Fr David Ackerman, Vicar, said; “Our church began with a donation, of land belonging to All Souls’ College, Oxford and so we wanted to begin our anniversary year with an act of generosity.

“Our donation also recalls the church’s role in the formation of Queen’s Park Rangers. When the Queen’s Park estate was built our first Vicar helped start one of the first community activities for young people there in the 19th century, a boys football team. It went on to become QPR. I hope this can be an encouragement to others to donate to the community and sports hub”.

One of the main projects being worked on by the team is to install six bells in the church tower, something that was planned in 1844 when the church was built but never completed.

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Fundraising is beginning in earnest to raise the £30,000 needed to make them ring out next Christmas.

Ark Franklin, in nearby Harvist Road, is already raising money for one bell.

Fr David, who has been vicar for six years, added: “We are at the planning permission stage at the moment, but we hope that funds will be in place for the bells to ring for the first time on Christmas Day 2019.

A bell can be engraved so donors will be able to have their names cast in bronze!”

Further events include a George’s day community and schools pageant in the spring and a fete in the summer.

Discussions have already started about hosting a weekly community venture with the London Cares Trust.

Anniversary events kick off with a free classical concert on January 26 at 6pm.

A piece of music by Johann Strauss has been chosen as it was written in 1844. There will be a retiring collection at the end which will be split between local charities.