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The only way is up for Bishop's rooftop blessing

By Toby Neal | Much Wenlock | News | Published:

He will have heard all those "nearer, my God, to thee" quips.

But when the Bishop of Hereford took his ministry to a whole new level it was a moment for celebration in Much Wenlock.

Because the ascent by the Bishop, the Rt Rev Richard Frith, high in a cherry picker alongside the parish church tower marked the completion of a major project to reroof the nave.

The cost was partly funded by the Shropshire Historic Churches Trust, a charity which raises cash to help the county's churches meet their repair bills.

Richard Bifield of the trust said: "A visitor passing Holy Trinity Church might have been bemused to see the Bishop of Hereford, in full regalia, being hoisted up to the top of the nave roof by cherry picker.

"He had been persuaded, probably against his better judgment, by the Team Rector, the Rev Matthew Stafford, to go up there to dedicate and bless the newly reroofed nave.

"The work took from February to August to complete - it took five weeks just to erect the complicated scaffolding.

"The Shropshire Historic Churches Trust and a number of other grant-giving bodies plus personal bequests raised the cost of the works, which included interior redecoration, which totalled well over £200,000.

"A special service was conducted before this ceremony and afterwards the congregation enjoyed an excellent 'picnic' in the church - it would have been outside but the weather was not conducive.

"The whole event was filmed by the BBC which has been filming activities in the Wenlock group of churches for a programme to be broadcast in the near future."

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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