Church sees light on can­dle safety

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

CHURCH can­dles which were at risk of be­ing snuffed out due to safety fears will con­tinue to shine af­ter com­mu­nity fundrais­ing.

The 90 can­dles hung from the ceil­ing at St Michael’s Church in Mar­ket Place, Mac­cles­field, cre­ate a mag­i­cal at­mos­phere for ser­vices and events. But there were con­cerns that the church might have to stop us­ing the at­mo­spheric lights be­cause its in­sur­ance pol­icy no longer cov­ered climb­ing up high to light them.

But now af­ter fundrais­ing by the com­mu­nity, work has been com­pleted to sus­pend them on longer chains to make them eas­ier to light from the ground.

David Smith, 61, who is in charge of light­ing the can­dles and launched the ap­peal, said: “It’s fan­tas­tic we have a so­lu­tion for the can­dles. The chain ex­ten­sions al­lows the can­de­labras to be main­tained at a much safer height from the floor, while can­dles can be lit and re­placed so much eas­ier for ser­vices and town so­cial events.

“They have been cleaned up and look fan­tas­tic.”

There are two main Ja­cobean and Vic­to­rian brass chan­de­liers which hold some of the can­dles and five smaller chan­de­liers.

David has had the job of light­ing them for more than 20 years. He used to reach the sus­pended can­de­labras by brav­ing a climb up a 20ft lad­der.

But David was told the church in­sur­ance pol­icy no longer cov­ered him to climb up so high due to safety con­cerns.

And while David en­joys light­ing the can­dles, he re­alised even­tu­ally some­one else will have to take over, so the church needed a safer way for the can­dles to be lit.

David orig­i­nally ran an ap­peal to raise £7,000 for a winch and pul­ley sys­tem to bring the can­dles down to the ground for light­ing.

But a so­lu­tion was found to put the can­dles on longer chains so they are closer to the ground, at a cheaper cost of £4,000.

As well as com­mu­nity fundrais­ing and dona­tions, Mac­cles­field Town Coun­cil gave a grant to match the fund­ing. Con­gle­ton Engi­neer­ing De­vel- op­ments Ltd then got to work re­plac­ing the chains.

David, who lives in Tyther­ing­ton with wife Sheena, said: “I love light­ing the can­dles but when some­one even­tu­ally has to take over, they will be able to light them safely.

“We would like to thank all who have helped with their time and dona­tions.

“It means we can have the beau­ti­ful can­dles for ser­vices in the church for years to come.”

Matt Rat­cliffe

David Smith and his now ‘un­safe’ lad­der

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