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In-spired project at Woodbridge starts

PUBLISHED: 12:03 09 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:36 03 March 2010

WORK has begun on the complex task of building a new spire and then hauling it into place on top of St John's Church, Woodbridge.

The project became possible thanks to an anonymous benefactor contributing £150,000 towards the cost.

WORK has begun on the complex task of building a new spire and then hauling it into place on top of St John's Church, Woodbridge.

The project became possible thanks to an anonymous benefactor contributing £150,000 towards the cost.

The person, who is not a member of the congregation, wanted to see the church get its spire back after it was taken down in the mid 1970's due to structural problems.

Although the original design will be followed as closely as possible, the new spire will not be made out of stone and it will be slightly shorter for practical reasons.

John Lennard-Jones, a member of the church's sub-committee for the project, said: ''The lower part of the spire will be made out of galvanised steel and above that it will be a wooden skeleton covered with lead.

''It is not being made out of stone because the previous spire had to be taken down as it was unsafe and it was deemed that we should not put such a weight on the tower again.

''It is an intricate project. The tower will be stabilised with a system of cables and rods from within, which go two-thirds down the existing tower and will be fixed to the wall.''

Elliston, Steady and Hawes, the contractors, started the project near the end of last month and it is hoped that weather permitting the spire will be lifted into place before Christmas.

Letters have been sent to surrounding householders to inform them of the project and apologise for any inconvenience.

The new structure will be about 13 metres high, giving a total height from the ground to the top of 35 metres. The church was consecrated in 1846 and 100 years later the crumbling stone spire had to be extensively repaired. In 1975 the diocesan architect found serious defects in the structure and the spire was taken down.

The church is on a hill and the spire was a popular landmark for sailors on the River Deben. Many people in the town were disappointed when the spire was dismantled but they were unable to raise enough money for a replacement.

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