AFTER eight years Major Ernest Huby’s dream has come true.
The Salvation Army leader has opened the doors to their new base in the town.
And their first public meeting will take place tomorow, Easter Sunday – five years to the day after their last meeting at their old base.
He’s looking forward to welcoming the needy and the community to the church, on New Hey Road, Oakes, which is doubling up as a community centre.
Major Huby and wife June described it as a dream come true.
Major Huby said: “This is more than we could ever dream.
“It is better than I imagined.
“It has been a long, hard struggle over the last eight years – there were times when we thought it wasn’t going to happen.
“But we never lost sight of that original vision and we believe this is where the Lord wants us to be.”
The new church – there used to be a police station on the site – will be a place of worship, home to toddler groups and residents’ meetings, and can be used by local police officers or community groups.
It has a kitchen and dining area for their annual Christmas dinners for the needy.
And it has a worship hall which can be extended to fit hundreds of worshipers.
Mrs Huby said: “I’m excited about it, the facilities are fantastic.
“We’ve got community groups wanting to use the rooms and we are hoping to start a luncheon club.”
Tomorrow marks the fifth anniversary of their last service at their old base near Springwood car park.
It means Major Huby is looking forward to his first service, which starts at 2.15pm.
Plans for the new centre have been eight years in the making.
Back in 2001 Salvation Army leaders identified a suitable site for development on New Hey Road.
They then acquired the land from owners West Yorkshire Police Authority while the car parking space is being leased from Kirklees Council.
But it wasn’t without its problems – 60 residents objected to the plans but more than 300 came out in support.
On Saturday June 13 at 3pm the church will host it’s official open day with Salvation Army leaders from the national headquarters attending.
But in the meantime, leaders will welcome the community into the centre.