Lightning strike hits church tower

By Dave GooderhamRESIDENTS in one of the most picturesque villages in the region must be thinking the weather gods are against them.Six years ago, a 100mph tornado ripped through the tiny village of Pentlow, on the Essex-Suffolk border.

By Dave Gooderham

RESIDENTS in one of the most picturesque villages in the region must be thinking the weather gods are against them.

Six years ago, a 100mph tornado ripped through the tiny village of Pentlow, on the Essex-Suffolk border. The freak wind even picked up a border collie, hurling it 20 feet through the air.

Now the village church has fallen victim to mother nature as lightning tore a hole through its tower - less than a year after £20,000-worth of improvement work was carried out.


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Clergy and insurers have been surveying the tower at St Gregory and St George's Church to ascertain how much damage was caused by yesterday morning's lightning strike.

The Rev Captain Brian Sampson, minister in charge at the church, said: “No-one really knows what happened. No-one was fortunately in the church and no-one saw the strike.

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“But it is like some kind of artillery shell has hit the church tower as there is just a small hole and it has blown the room at the foot of the tower to kingdom come. We were very lucky that there was not more damage.”

Capt Sampson said it was too dangerous to get on to the roof and assess the damage fully and he was concerned over the state of the church bells and the belfry, which are due to be looked at today.

“We are still not sure over the exact damage as we have to leave as much as we can until the insurance company arrives,” he said.

“Our main problem is that we had just spent £20,000 last year on a new lead roof on the tower - and it looks like we have now done that for nothing. It is incredibly frustrating and annoying to have gone to all that trouble.”

One of the few round towered churches in the area, parts of St Gregory and St George's Church date back to the 12th century.

Yesterday's lightning strikes and heavy floods also brought down power cables in the area.

dave.gooderham@eadt.co.uk

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