110-year-old church gates reappear after £400 makeover
- Credit: Wisbech St Mary Parish Council
A set of church gates have reappeared with a new lease of life after going missing for around three weeks, having a £400 makeover.
Wisbech St Mary Parish Council have revitalised gates at the village church which were in “a poor state of repair”, requiring some much-needed TLC.
Cllr Mark Knight first noticed that the gates needed some work when he passed them on his daily dog walk.
After discussion with Cllr John Humphrey, the two councillors decided to offer their services to refurbish the gates as they stood on site.
However, after further thoughts, it was suggested that a more professional finish would be obtained if they were shot blasted and primed by a specialist company.
At the last parish council meeting, a proposal was agreed that Wisbech St Mary PCC would fund the project for £420 and that councillors would undertake the labour.
A council spokesperson said: “As an important focal point in the village, it was felt that we needed to take steps to preserve and improve these 110-year-old cast iron gates for the benefit of our community.
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“Interestingly, the gates were last repaired some 37 years ago by the village blacksmith and engineer, John Wilson and Son Engineers.
“David Wilson remembers his father undertaking the work and as a young man helped him re-hang the gates back in 1983.”
On March 17, the project team of Knight, Humphrey and Wilson assembled at the church gates.
David’s oxy-acetylene bottles made short work of the task of removing the well rusted bolts.
After a “breakfast of Weetabix for strength” the team lifted the gates onto a low trailer, on loan from John Scrimshaw, for the journey to Bright Blast Cleaning in Terrington.
The gates were away for three weeks before being returned to the church for further work in applying the black and gold paint, including the metal overhang.
A spokesperson for Bright Blast said: “We had never seen such a large set of cast iron gates in all our 30 plus years of trading.
“They are a true work of art although with time have developed a few cracks which makes the whole task a delicate one.”
On Wednesday, April 14 a formal handover to Revd Ryk Parkinson, priest-in-charge of Wisbech St Mary Parish, was made by Cllr David Wheeler, chairman of Wisbech St Mary Parish Council.
The handover was witnessed by Richard Gilbert and Anne Wallis (church wardens), David Wilson (engineer) and Cllr’s John Humphrey and Mark Knight.
Revd Ryk said: “We are very grateful to the parish council for delivering back to us very smart newly painted gates and archway, a proud day for the village church.”