A £1m appeal has been launched to regenerate an historic building in Malton backed by broadcaster Selina Scott.

Fundraisers are aiming to restore the town’s Methodist Church in Saville Street to secure its long-term future.

The church will be renamed the Wesley Centre with plans to equip it – not only as a place of worship in the 21st century - but as a community hub.

Selina has announced her support for the redevelopment of the building, which has national significance, by becoming patron of the appeal.

Paul Emberley, Wesley Centre Development Lead, said: “Conservationists say this building is very special.

“There are only 41 Grade II* listed Methodist buildings in Britain, and ours is just one of two such buildings in the entire Yorkshire North and East Methodist Church District.. It’s a rare surviving example.”

The building which has been on Saville Street in Malton for more than 207 years was designed by the architect Rev William Jenkins, who worked alongside John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

Selina said: “Malton, and its Methodist church, is dear to my heart. My grandfather used to be a Wesleyan preacher in Malton.

“My father, Charles, was chairman of Ryedale District Council, the authority governing Malton, so this heritage is precious to me.”

Now that the roof has been fully repaired, at a cost of more than £120,000, plans for the Wesley Centre include a transformation of the 550-seat space for concerts, conferences and other events as well as a cafe.

“One of its key attractions will be the reinstatement of a large restored historic pipe organ after the original was removed 20 years ago.

Selina added: “The ancient market town of Malton shows that rural economies can succeed while cherishing and safeguarding the qualities that give the beautiful and friendly town so much of its character.

“I know Malton treasures its heritage, and will get behind the appeal to safeguard this beautiful building.”

To find out more and to donate to the appeal go to www.maltonwesleycentre.org