Cornwall

Easter service for Pillaton lightning strike church

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Media captionDamage to the Grade I-listed church has estimated to be at least £500,000

A special Easter service will be held in the grounds of a church which was struck by lightning causing part of it to "explode".

A pinnacle on St Odulph's Church in Pillaton, was hit during a "tremendous" thunder storm in January causing blocks of granite to rain down on the Cornish village.

A restoration project expected to cost £500,000 is under way.

The short service, led by Canon Andrew Wilson, will take place at 16:00 GMT.

During the storm, on 22 January, blocks of up to half a tonne smashed through the church's roof and lodged in the bell tower.

'Cat's cradle'

Parishioner Tony Rowe, who has been involved in the restoration, said: "We've got the first of the major stones off the church.

"It's taken a very long time because the scaffolding is complex as it can't be keyed into the tower because it's Grade 1 (listed), so it's like a cat's cradle.

"In 1259, without the scaffolding, they managed to get the stones up there and it's just amazing. You think, 'how the devil did they get them up there?'

"They're all immaculate, and here we are really scratching our heads about how they got into place."

The restoration has been slower than expected due to the bad weather the region has experienced.

Mr Rowe said: "They've only been allowed to work up there [on the scaffolding] for half day so far because of the bad weather, but within the next two weeks we'll have finished the emergency phase and then we'll start on the reconstruction."

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