Bath Chronicle

Crane driver answers prayers

- Sam Petherick Chief reporter sam.petherick@reachplc.com

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.”

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