CHURCH DIY reached new heights when an 80-year-old parishioner scaled the inside of a bell-tower to repair a window frame, writes James Carney.
Rather than call in the builders, Tony Myers took matters into his own hands and climbed the 60ft to 70ft interior of Clifton Parish Church’s tower, supported by safety ropes supplied by fellow parishioner and experienced mountaineer Paul Brown.
Mr Myers said: “It could have cost thousands, but I reckon we did it for £15.”
He said the frame had become rotten and needed replaced, but feared the impact of bringing in contractors on church coffers.
Mr Myers worked as the church’s warden from 1979 to 1983 and said he felt a sense of duty in maintaining the building despite the risk and considerable altitude.
“I’m not frightened of heights so it was no problem,” he said.
Mr Brown hauled scaffolding planks into the belfry to use as safety barriers, which were attached to beams above the bells, while he and Mr Myers, a retired train driver, worked from a 2ft ledge. They wore safety harnesses used for mountaineering, which were clipped to safety ropes, as they completed their work over a series of afternoons.
Clifton Parish Church’s Rev Canon David Casswell said Tony and Paul saved a small fortune.
“We inquired about scaffolding, but the company that we contacted would not even give us a quote,” he said. He was concerned for Mr Myers’ safety, but said he would not have been able to stop him going up.
“Health and safety has become important, but Tony is from a time before health and safety even existed.” He said most 80-year-olds would not even think of taking on such a task, but age does not stop Tony. It’s great to have people like that.
“Tony has cared for the building for many years. He feels it is his ministry. He has done so much for us and at no cost.”