Thanks to our reputation as Manchester’s premier tree surgeons, Myers Tree Care is often presented with an unusual challenge. On this occasion we were approached by the bell ringers of St Thomas’s church at Mellor to see if we could assist in the scheduled maintenance of the clock face. As a school governor at Mellor School Tree Surgeon David Myers was teamed up with the Headmaster Jim Nicholson, and between them took on the challenge with both hands! The head has many years experience in rock climbing and rope access work, so coupled with David's tree-climbing expertise, they were both well suited to the community challenge set before them.
Access and ground pressure is restricted around the tower as there are many tombs within the paved areas, so no heavy machines can be driven over these areas. Jim and David's combined experienced in rope access work saved the church a great deal of money, as the alternatives would have been scaffolding or an elevated platform.
Once a work plan had been discussed and approved, the pair chose a date to undertake the work. Luckily the weather was perfect with bright sunshine and still skies and it could not have been better! Mellor Church is the highest church in Cheshire at over 700ft above sea level; so good weather was a must, with views that were as far as North Wales and North Lancashire.
Once rock climber and tree surgeon had negotiated the tight and spiralled staircase to the roof with their equipment, they set the line anchors around the far side of the tower with backup lines etc. Lines were placed over the tower edge with rope protection in place and they then climbed over the edge of the tower and descended into position. Once at the clock face they started to prepare the surfaces for paint. After a few hours of scraping and sanding, they applied several coats of masonry and steel paint throughout the day, until they were happy with the results. The hardest part was working the right side of the face, as you had to paint left handed - not easy when you are 50ft up and trying not to place your feet on the clock face whilst watching the hands!