MID and East Antrim Mayor, William McCaughey may only have been in his role for a matter of months but he’s already reached heights which none of his predecessors down through history could possibly attain!
Last week, the Mayor donned a hard hat and clambered - chain of office and all - up five flights of scaffolding to see for himself the monumental task facing restoration workers at the town’s iconic St. Patrick’s Church.
The church, one of the original ‘Seven Towers’, has been closed to the congregation for some time as a hugely expensive battle against the effects of dry rot takes place.
Guardian editor, Dessie Blackadder joined the Mayor during the visit and he, too, was astounded by the scale of the operation.
“From the outside it is totally impossible to realise just how much work is going on.
“ It was fantastic to hear how the dry rot problem is being tackled and it was a real privilege to be able to climb the scaffolding and be one of the very few people to get up close to such stunning windows and architecture.”
Mayor McCaughey listened intently as representatives of Stronghold Preservation, the firm engaged to deal with the dry rot problem, outlined the various steps which would have to be taken to preserve the building for posterity.
Afterwards, he told the Guardian: “I was truly taken aback by the scale of the work at St. Patrick’s.
“The Church is one of the area’s greatest landmarks and to hear the modern structural engineers talk about the skills of the original craftsmen who built the structure back in the mid-19th century was enlightening.
“I truly hope that the local community will support the church congregation as they attempt to protect and preserve this fantastic 300 year old building for the many generations to come who will worship and sing praises within its walls for hopefully the next 300 years.”