A VILLAGE church is set to close after almost 200 years of serving its congregation.

Cawood Methodist Church was first opened in the 1830s, and underwent extensive improvement work in 1907 when a front vestibule was added.

But now, the congregation has fallen to such a small level that worshippers are preparing for their final service at the church.

Ron Usher, 73, and his wife, Rosemary, 69, both of Cawood, have been attending the chapel for 36 years.

Ron, the church's property steward, said the congregation was now too small to cope with the upkeep of the building.

"The congregation has dropped off over the years, with people passing away," he said. "Although there's been an increase in the size of the village, there hasn't been an increase in the numbers of people coming to the church."

Now the church will hold a final service tomorrow at 3pm, taken by former minister, the Reverend Ken Marshall.

Mary Grassam, 88, of Cawood, has been a member of the congregation at the church for 80 years and remembers when services were full to the rafters.

"The chapel used to be almost full at every service," she said.

"There'd be two services every Sunday, and then for harvest festival and special Sunday school events, we'd have to bring in more chairs to seat everybody."

She said it would revive special memories for her with Mr Marshall taking Saturday's service.

"My daughter, Ruth, was the first person Mr Marshall married when he joined our church 31 years ago, and now Ruth will be sitting in the chair at the weekend.

"The service will be full of memories.

"I've got lots of lovely memories of the church."

Mary said she would continue to go to church, travelling with friends to either Ryther or Wistow.

However, she said others might struggle through lack of transport. I'm lucky because I've got friends who can pick me up.

"But others won't be able to get transport," she said.

Bridget Bennet, a circuit steward for the Snaith and Selby Methodist Church, said: "It's always sad to see a church having to close.

"Every church represents a lot of hard work and commitment from people who have been there for years, even generations.

"What I'm pleased at is that we're able to finish with a service of celebration, and a recognition of all the work that's been done."