Church prayers answered over hail damage repairs
During the final reconstruction stages of the church, which was heavily damaged during last October's hail storm, workers removed century-old dust accumulated along the rafters at the top of the church's interior.
"It's dirty, back-breaking work and it's thought to be the first time workers have been to this part of the church since it was built nearly 104 years ago," said St Andrews' Rector Vivian Hoskins.
"We have only lost one day of worship during the whole process and that was last Sunday. I'm very happy."
Rev Hoskins said work on the church would continue in stages and the total cost of the restoration was not yet known.
"The ceiling timbers, immediately below the recently-replaced roof slates, are about 17 metres above the nave floor of the church," he said.
"Workmen preparing the timbers for their first paint job in a century have taken out metres of dust and debris.
"The huge clean and paint job has meant the church's timber pews have been replaced with a tangle of carefully installed scaffolding valued at $1.5 million."
Rev. Hoskins said the huge paint job had been achieved in just 10 days with church services and activities back to normal next week.
"The hail damage forced us to repair the church's Welsh slate roof, interior ceiling timbers and beams and replace most of the diamond glass windows on the southern side of the church and bell tower," he said. "Final work on stage one of the restoration program will be completed by the end of May but there will be much more to do."
Still remaining are repairs to the pipe organ, a new sound system, repairs to the teak floors, new carpet, repairs to the pews, replacement of tower windows, restoration of the church's memorial garden and the church spire.