Church sees light on candle safety
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.”
David Smith and his now ‘unsafe’ ladder