Heavens above! It’s a new roof...

Bishop Ashcroft gets an overhead view of Astley St Stephens Church
Bishop Ashcroft gets an overhead view of Astley St Stephens Church

Senior clergy took to the heavens to celebrate the unveiling of a church’s new roof.

In far from conventional scenes, the Bishop of Bolton Mark Ashcroft was hoisted aloft on a fireman’s crane to get an overhead view of Astley St Stephen’s which has replaced its old leaky roof with a new one after years of disrepair.

And from the dizzying heights, Bishop Mark delivered a speech, said prayers and officially unveiled the new structure for which parishioners had raised £178,000 to replace.

Church warden Polly Forster spoke of the shocking condition the roof was in before several generous grants allowed them to build a new one.

“It was dreadful,” she said.

“We had buckets dotted all around inside the church, collecting drips of water coming through.

“There was mould and moss growing on the roof and the cement between the bricks and parapets was falling out.

“It was patched up and repaired over time, but it was never watertight.”

But now, thanks to all the generous donations, the whole roof has been lifted off and replaced with thick insulation and new waterproof rubber membranes.

Future plans now include restoring the church’s ceiling, which was badly damaged by the constant rainwater, and installing new electrics.