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St Helena Online

The St Helena report and the gap in media

Fundraisers plan global push in Jamestown steeple campaign

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A worldwide appeal is to be launched for money to restore one of St Helena’s lost landmarks: the steeple on St James’ Church, one of the ‘wonders’ of the island. Here, churchwarden IVY ELLICK outlines a campaign plan worthy of Napoleon.

We are looking at 2015 as our target date for restoring the steeple of St James’. That is when we celebrate the centenary of the landing of Napoleon Bonaparte on St Helena.

Most surprisingly, Napoleon’s death was not registered in any of the country churches, but it is in the register of St James’.

We do some have money left over from phase 2 of the restoration of the church. That will be set aside for the steeple. It is not very large sum, but it will be there and we won’t have to find that amount.

I am determined that once approvals are had, and plans and costings known, we will fund-raise here on the island and appeal to St Helenians and as well the many, many friends of St Helena spread all over the world.

The captains of the RMS St Helena are supportive of the proposal and will do all they can in helping us to raise funds.

We are very fortunate to have a young, energetic vicar in Jamestown, Archdeacon Dale Bowers, who is also very passionate about the proposed project.

The parochial church council is in agreement and we are waiting on our young enthusiastic engineer, Adrian Duncan, to produce plans, options on materials, and costing.

Stone is not one of the options, so we are looking at fibre glass, or lead with a steel frame.

We have not formally put our proposals to the National Trust, the Heritage Society or the Lands Planning Department, but there shouldn’t be a problem. We want to work together with them to restore our heritage.

We must, first of all, meet formally with our bishop to discuss our proposals, and seek the assistance of the Governor to jointly launch the appeal. This will carry more weight in the outside world.

  • A second phase of restoration work on St James’ – the oldest Anglican church south of the Equator – has just been completed. It involved replacing plaster that had fallen  from the tower, walls and pinnacles, and reinforcing the affected areas with steel and concrete. The roof of the tower was replaced, and window frames were repaired and given new leading. Exterior walls were also redecorated. Andrew Duncan was praised for his work.

Rebuilding lost steeple – next job for church fund-raisers?

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