Vicar reaches new heights to repair leaky church roof of St Paul’s Bow Common

The Rev Bernadette Hegarty starts her climb on scaffold at St Paul's Bow Common [photos: Steve Posto

The Rev Bernadette Hegarty starts her climb on scaffold at St Paul's Bow Common [photos: Steve Poston] - Credit: Archant

A vicar went up the wall trying to get the money to fix the leaky roof in her parish church. Repairs are badly needed at St Paul’s, Bow Common, in London’s East End.

The Rev Bernadette Hegarty starts her climb on scaffold at St Paul's Bow Common [photos: Steve Posto

The Rev Bernadette Hegarty starts her climb on scaffold at St Paul's Bow Common [photos: Steve Poston] - Credit: Archant

So the plucky Rev Bernadette Hegarty took matters into her own hands and got her parishioners to sponsor her climbing 60ft up scaffolding to the top of the steeple.

“It’s certainly an ordeal for me as I find both ladders and heights very scary,” she told the East London Advertiser as she got ready to make her ascent. “I’m terrified of heights and have had to make a quick prayer before going up ladder.”

But she managed to get to the very tip of the steeple, cheered on by youngsters in the school playground at St Paul’s with St Luke Primary next door.

The Rev Bernadette Hegarty starts her climb on scaffold at St Paul's Bow Common [photos: Steve Posto

The Rev Bernadette Hegarty starts her climb on scaffold at St Paul's Bow Common [photos: Steve Poston] - Credit: Archant

“The children kept chanting ‘Go mother Bernadette, go mother Bernadette,” she said after completing her climb. “They kept it up till I got to the top.”


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The church in Burdett Road, by Bow Common Lane, has a leaky roof which puts worshippers to the ‘test’ when the heavens open.

It was built in 1960, but after half-a-century needs urgent repairs. The work together with electrical and heating upgrading could reach £300,000. The sponsored scaffold climb made £800 towards it.

The Rev Bernadette Hegarty starts her climb on scaffold at St Paul's Bow Common [photos: Steve Posto

The Rev Bernadette Hegarty starts her climb on scaffold at St Paul's Bow Common [photos: Steve Poston] - Credit: Archant

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Bernadette blessed the cross while she was up there, then blessed the parish from her unique vantage point.

She could see the whole parish from Limehouse to Mile End, as well as Canary Wharf and the City of London in the distance.

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