Church seeks help with damaged flagpole
Bermuda’s oldest church has appealed for help to repair the flagpole on top of the 17th-century building.
The pulley system on the flagpole at St Peter’s Church in St George was damaged after the flag became entangled in the ropes last year.
Gillian Outerbridge, the parish administrator, said that the flagpole’s position on top of the church made it “dangerous and inaccessible”.
She explained: “The flagpole’s at the top of a tower where the only place to stand is on this tiny little balcony that runs around the top.
Ms Outerbridge added: “From that you need to get up another ten to twelve feet to reach the bracket that the flagpole is on, and once you release that 15ft pole from the bracket you’ve got a long, heavy pole that you can’t control.
“It’s really quite a dangerous situation, and certainly we don’t have anybody on the staff of this old church who could do it.”
Ms Outerbridge said that the flag became tangled around the flagpole in heavy winds during a storm last December.
Church staff said they expected the flag to untangle itself over time, but instead the weight of the heavy fabric snapped the rope pulley. Ms Outerbridge added that the congregation did not have the skill or manpower to remove the pole themselves.
She said: “It’s almost like a piece of sailboat equipment, like a mast or a boom, and if you haven’t got good control of it, it’s just going to fall and crash through the roof or take somebody down with it.”
Ms Outerbridge added that the parish hoped a construction company, the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service or the Ministry of Public Works would help the church out so the flagpole could be repaired and repainted.
She added that anyone who sponsored the repair work would get the chance to re-hoist the flag once repairs were completed. The flag design was granted to the church on its 2012 400th anniversary by the Queen, which coincided with her Diamond Jubilee.
The church was given the title “Their Majesties Chappell” and the special flag, a St George’s Cross with the depiction of the 1609 wreck of the Sea Venture, which led to the island’s colonisation by the English, taken from the church’s chalice in one of the quarters.
Ms Outerbridge said that the flag had become a fixture at the church, part of the St George’s Unesco World Heritage Site, and its absence was “quite depressing”.
She said: “It’s a very distinctive flag. It’s very high up above the ground and it’s a very significant part of St George’s, so people recognise when it’s missing.
“It’s like Buckingham Palace: people look up and say ‘where’s the flag?’.”