A BOLT from the heavens struck a church roof and cracked a stone cross clean in half during storms over the weekend.

Neighbours near St Peter’s Church in Parkstone felt the ground shake at around 11pm on Saturday night (June 4) when a thunderous lightning strike damaged the church roof and internal electrics.

“The cross of Jesus Christ bore the burden and took the hit,” joked Revd. Mike Trotman who was the first to notice the split symbol on the church roof the next day.

He told the Echo: “We had a service at 8am on Sunday morning and I got a call from a church warden as I was waking up saying we had a problem with our electrics – I don’t think he’d noticed the cross.

“When I first came down Church Road it was the first thing I noticed, I looked up and thought 'oh my word'. After a short while I knew we’d been struck as fragments of masonry had come down into the guttering. I can’t imagine the sheer force it must have had.”

Bournemouth Echo: Lightning strike damages St Peter’s Church roof cross in ParkstoneLightning strike damages St Peter’s Church roof cross in Parkstone

The storm also resulted in a disconnected water pipe, localised flooding, loss of phone lines, the church’s sound system to break and dust from the ceiling – believed to have been caused by the building shake.

Just one day prior, the church acted as a base for a Jubilee street party celebration in the nearby Parr Street.

Seeing the ironic side of the incident, Mike said the strike was mentioned by Revd Sally Bedborough in the Sunday service who played with the notion that “rather than seeing an act of judgement impact people, the cross took the hit instead”.

Nearby pub The Bricklayers also thanked the church on social media for ‘taking the hit’.

While the church now awaits an insurance inspection ahead of fixing the damaged cross and electrics, Mike said the reaction from the community was “wonderful”.

He said: “Many residents feel a connection with the building and appreciate the architecture so we’d love to get it repaired as soon as we can.”

Elsewhere in Poole, the storms caused some flooding at the Dolphin Shopping Centre and caused the town’s main food bank to close.

Bournemouth Echo: Flood damage causes stock losses at Poole Food Bank in Dolphin CentreFlood damage causes stock losses at Poole Food Bank in Dolphin Centre

Stock has been lost following substantial flooding to the ground floor of Poole Food Bank with volunteers working to salvage food and clear the site.

Spokesperson Alan Purchase said: “At the moment we’re trying to assess stock damage and clean up but we have had to close this week as the site is not fit for purpose.

“We’re not completely wiped out but it has affected us so we would be greatly appreciative if people could contact us so we can tell them what we need.”

The site will reopen on Tuesday.