Leeds Minster flagpole woe leaves volunteers ‘gutted’

Access workers assess the old flag pole on the bell tower at Leeds Minster. Picture Bruce Rollinson.

Access workers assess the old flag pole on the bell tower at Leeds Minster. Picture Bruce Rollinson.

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Volunteers at Leeds Minster are “gutted” that a five-year wait for its flagpole to be replaced looks set to continue.

A special cherrypicker was commissioned to winch a new 11-metre pole into place atop the minster’s bell tower on Tuesday, after the current flagpole was deemed unsafe.

Churchgoers and benefactors had painstakingly raised £5,000 to replace the pole but once Northern Flags construction workers arrived on site this week they found that minster beams that supported the existing flagpole were damaged.

Church wardens now face an anxious wait to find out whether they can afford to fix the problem after workers had to abandon the project. Northern Flags cut part of the existing flagpole down on Tuesday.

Val Pawson, who is deputy warden at Leeds Minster, told the YEP: “If you go around villages and even little villages, you will always have flags flying on St George’s Day.

“We’re absolutely gutted that it can’t be done. It’s an anti climax, we worked so hard to raise the money and presumably now it will cost more to replace.”

Wardens hoped a new flagpole would put a stop to “abusive” letters sent to the Rector of Leeds over the fact a St George’s Flag has not been raised to celebrate St George’s Day at the minster in recent years.

A Northern Flags spokeswoman said the wooden structures inside the minster’s bell tower are bowed. The minster now faces either paying to fix the issue or setting a flagpole in the ground outside the building.

People around the world are marking Earth Hour this evening. People in Britain are expected to join in at 8.30pm... and then they will switch their clocks forward tonight as British Summer Time begins.

Get ready to turn your clocks forward... but before that expect things to get much darker