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Norwich Cathedral: Restored weathercock returns to spire

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media captionNorwich Cathedral weathercock returned to spire after restoration

A 264-year-old weathercock has been returned to a 315ft cathedral spire in an "intense and delicate" operation.

The weathercock, which has crowned Norwich Cathedral since 1756, was back in place by Thursday evening, after being regilded.

The work to put it back in place, by father-and-son team Chris, 72, and Sam Milford, 31, took nine hours.

Chris Milford said: "It was an exhilarating experience and one that tests and bonds you."

image copyrightSam Milford
image captionThe nine hour installation did bring the reward of a beautiful city sunset view from the spire
image copyrightChris Skipper
image captionFather-and-son team Chris (left) and Sam Milford went up the tower at about 13:00 BST and came down at 21:00

It is believed to have been the first time the 2ft 9in (83cm)-tall weathercock has been renovated since it was last brought down in 1963.

The conservationists, from Bristol-based WallWalkers, scaled the 315ft (96m) spire with a system of ropes to refix the cockerel-shaped wind vane, with its new thin layers of gold coating.

image copyrightChris Skipper
image captionThey had removed the vane in another operation in August

Sam Milford said they started at about 13:00 BST and it was back in place by about 18:00 in a "very delicate manoeuvre that took a lot of tiny problem-solving that really mounts up".

"It was incredible and intense," he said.

His father said: "It was tiring, mentally exhausting, but exhilarating."

He added that "it took a lot of 'out-of-the box' thinking" to keep everything safe and steady, whilst dealing with the wind and stonework.

image copyrightSam Milford/Chris Skipper
image captionThe golden cockerel has had pride of place on the top of the cathedral since the 18th century
image captionNorwich Cathedral is visible from across the city and illuminated at night

The cathedral dates back to 1096 and has had three documented spires since its construction - two wooden ones and the current stone and brick incarnation completed in about 1485.

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