Crane driver an­swers prayers

Bath Chronicle - - NEWS - Sam Peth­er­ick Chief re­porter sam.peth­er­ick@reach­

A Bath church’s statue has been placed back on its plinth af­ter it was van­dalised amid a “huge binge of de­struc­tion”.

The loaves and fishes sculp­ture at St Philip and St James’ Church was knocked off its perch over a crime-rid­den weekend.

The sculp­ture, which weighs more than a tonne, was cre­ated by Lau­rence Tin­dall who ar­ranged for a small team of church­go­ers to lift it back us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of bars and levers.

As the team braced for an almighty strug­gle, it was blessed by a divine in­ter­ven­tion as a pass­ing Kell­away Build­ing Sup­plies truck spot­ted them and of­fered to help.

Driver Bern Cross, who had a crane on the back of the lorry, shouted: “I think you’re go­ing to need some help with that.”

Watched by a crowd of de­lighted passers-by, he used the crane to lift the stone back into place.

The Odd Down church wrote on Face­book: “We thank God for send­ing a good Sa­mar­i­tan to put the statue at St Philip’s back in place.

“As we were try­ing to move it onto its plinth, a lo­cal builder didn’t pass by on the other side but stopped off and lifted our statue back into place.”

Mr Cross, a for­mer pupil at St Philip’s Pri­mary School next to the church, said: “It’s nice to give some­thing back to the com­mu­nity.”

Church ad­min­is­tra­tor Tim Conroy said: “At our hol­i­day club that morn­ing our theme was the good Sa­mar­i­tan who stopped off to help some­one in need. Bern was our good Sa­mar­i­tan and has given us and all the com­mu­nity a lift by his act of kind­ness.

“We are so grate­ful to him and Kell­away for their gen­eros­ity.”

The statue fell vic­tim to van­dals over the weekend of Fe­bru­ary 16 and 17, when nu­mer­ous cars were at­tacked across Bath. Many had wing mir­rors knocked off, wind­screens dam­aged and tyres slashed in Odd Down alone.

Bath’s prospec­tive par­lia­men­tary can­di­date for the Green Party, Do­minic Tris­tram, slammed the acts of “mind­less van­dal­ism”.

He said they took place on Frome Road, Bloom­field Drive, Bloom­field Road and Sulis Manor Road, among oth­ers.

Mr Tris­tram said: “I was a vic­tim of this too as my car wing mir­ror was knocked off on Fri­day night.

“There is a lack of polic­ing. I would never blame the po­lice as it is not their fault.

“They just don’t have the re­sources. With­out the ev­i­dence, they can­not do any­thing about it.

“Peo­ple have lost a huge amount of money and time due to this spate of van­dal­ism.”

It was not only Odd Down which suf­fered. South­down and We­ston res­i­dents also re­ported in­ci­dents.

One res­i­dent said: “They are just mov­ing around the city.

“We­ston had three evenings of it, smashed wind­screens and shop win­dows. They need some kind of no­tice­able po­lice pres­ence or some­thing!”

Mean­while, a group of girls at­tacked a girl in a city cen­tre shop in an as­sault de­scribed as “to­tally un­ac­cept­able” by the po­lice.

Ap­palled res­i­dents were left ask­ing where se­cu­rity was and why no­body in­ter­vened.

A meet­ing has now been set up by prospec­tive B&NES Lib­eral Demo­cratic coun­cil­lor Joel Hirst and Avon and Som­er­set po­lice to dis­cuss anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

The meet­ing is due to be held at Odd Down’s Sains­bury’s store on Frome Road tonight (Fe­bru­ary 28) at 8pm.

Mr Hirst, who also lives in Odd Down, said: “I am pleased the po­lice are or­gan­is­ing the com­mu­nity meet­ing. The chal­lenge is cuts in youth ser­vices and lim­ited things or places to go.”

Crane driver Bern Cross re­places the sculp­ture; below, Do­minic Tris­tram and Kathy Bea­dle of the Green Party af­ter the van­dal­ism

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