Rector breaks leg inspecting damage to storm-hit St Mary's Church

First published in Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Photograph of the Author by

BEAMINSTER rector the Rev David Baldwin broke his leg in three places – going to inspect the storm damage to his church.

Wind and rain damaged the pinnacle on St Mary’s Church tower, knocking chunks off the top which in turn caused damage to the roof and lights of the church.

The problem was discovered on one of the church’s ‘walk-in Wednesday’ café days when the church is open for free soup and activities.

The Rev Baldwin thought it prudent to check the other pinnacles and make sure it was safe for people to come to the church but he slipped on the path and broke his leg.

He said: “The day of the pinnacle incident I slipped in the churchyard when I went to see if there was any more damage and broke my leg in three places.

“The path was very slippery.”

The Rev Baldwin said there was no question that the pinnacle would be repaired.

He said: “There is no question of it not being done because the tower is what makes the church a Grade I listed building because it is 15th, 16th with 13th century remnants.

“No doubt when the wind and the weather stops we will able to put it back up again.

“We may have to apply for various grants if it is a great cost to us but as yet we really don’t know.”

Churchwarden Jack Barnett walked the 121 steps up the tower to post a video of the damaged pinnacle on YouTube.

He also met the church’s architect Mark Richmond when he came to inspect it last Thursday.

Mr Barnett said the inspection revealed that roof and lights were both damaged by the pinnacle’s fall.

He said: “The pinnacle will need a lot of work on it but the others are safe and that’s a relief.

“I don’t think we will need scaffolding, I think they can do it from the tower.

“The architect hasn’t given a price at this stage but I would have thought a minimum of a couple of thousand pounds but it is rain and wind that have caused the trouble so it should be insured.”

Mr Barnett wants all church members to take extra care when walking around the back of the church and anywhere near the tower.

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