Church Builder - Frank Blease

    Frank Blease
    Frank Blease

    At the age of sixteen, Frank Blease was called as Church Builder, despite having only been a member of the Church for eight months. Upon starting his mission on 6 April 1961, Frank was assigned to labour on the Wythenshawe Chapel, which involved adding an extension to the existing chapel. The Church Builders working alongside Frank on this project included Geoff Robinson, Keith Fisher, and Royce Goodier.

    Following the Wythenshawe Chapel, Frank worked on the Manchester Stake Centre Chapel, which ultimately replaced the Wythenshawe Chapel. During this time, missionaries often joined the Elders on the Stake Centre project, before moving on to their assigned projects. A number of builders worked on the building, including; Gordon Beharrall, Pat Forthergill, Frank Smith, Keith Hulse, Tom Crookes, Brian Austin, and Oliver Dewsnap.


    It was a strange feeling having to demolish the font in which I was baptised to relocate it in the extension. I think it was built on land owned by the Manchester City Council. There were two wards housed there – Manchester and Manchester South, but when the Stake Centre was completed, both wards moved into the new building and the original building was eventually demolished.

    Frank Blease

    During his service on the Stake Centre, Frank and others in the team supported other nearby projects, including a refurbishment of a house in Blackburn for worship services,  the Stockport and Rochdale Chapels. In addition, Frank worked on the Ashton Chapel, during which time he was able to stay at his home, which was less than 300 yards from the project site.

    Eventually, Frank was assigned to one final project, the Merthyr Tydfil Chapel. For eight months, Frank worked alongside Church Builders to complete the work, including; Arnold Jones, Leighton Jones, Fred Harald, James E. Perry, John Simpson, David Mordecai, Geoff Robinson, Anthony Hipkins and John Headington.

    Frank recalled the dedication of the Merthyr Tydfil Chapel.


    I think the chapel was dedicated on Sunday 25 th August 1963 by the prophet David O McKay. His mother was born in Merthyr and there’s a plaque on her cottage to that effect. As the prophet entered the chapel the congregation sang the Welsh classic, ‘Calon Lan.’ The atmosphere was electric. Each missionary was presented with a family copy of the Book of Mormon signed by the Prophet.

    Frank Blease

    Finally, with the dedication of the Merthyr Tydfil Chapel, Frank also completed his mission and was released on 26 August 1963, ready to start the work of filling the chapels with members.

    Wythenshawe Chapel; top to bottom, Brian Roper, Frank Blease, Henry Boren, Keith Hulse, and Frank Smith.
    Wythenshawe Chapel; top to bottom, Brian Roper, Frank Blease, Henry Boren, Keith Hulse, and Frank Smith.
    First Manchester Building Crew; left to right, Geoff Robinson, Keith Fisher, Royce Goodier, and Frank Blease
    First Manchester Building Crew; left to right, Geoff Robinson, Keith Fisher, Royce Goodier, and Frank Blease