A CHURCH has unveiled a brand-new roof cross after its predecessor was cracked in half by a lightning bolt from the heavens.

Twelve months after a thunderous lightning strike damaged St Peter’s Church in Parkstone, a new cross has been cut, carved and blessed to the delight of parishioners.

More than £100,000 worth of church repairs were needed after the storm on June 4 last year amid nationwide Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The church organ and electrics were severely impaired, while half of the stone cross on the roof came crashing down after a direct lightning strike – causing further damage to the roof and guttering.

Bournemouth Echo: Scaffolding surrounding St Peter's Church, ParkstoneScaffolding surrounding St Peter's Church, Parkstone (Image: Mike Trotman)

With interior repair work prioritised, a new cross was finally unveiled and installed on Monday, June 19.

Cut from Bath Stone and weighing more than 200 kilograms, stonemason Jerome Maguire has carved and prepared the new cross ready for installation.

Speaking to the Echo after the storm in June last year, church rector the Revd Mike Trotman joked: “The cross of Jesus Christ bore the burden and took the hit.”

Bournemouth Echo: Revd Mike Trotman holding the cracked stone outside St Peter's Church, Parkstone.Revd Mike Trotman holding the cracked stone outside St Peter's Church, Parkstone. (Image: BNPS)

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

The pub also kept and framed the front page of the Bournemouth Echo’s June 9, 2022, edition detailing the incident.

A year later, Revd Mike said he was delighted with the new cross and even performed a blessing on the stone.

Associate priest Revd Sally Bedborough then sprinkled it with water before it was lifted to the heavens.

Bournemouth Echo: Revd Sally Bedborough blesses the new cross with waterRevd Sally Bedborough blesses the new cross with water (Image: Mike Trotman)

Revd Mike said: “St Peter’s is here for all who live in Ashley Cross. I hope our new cross will proclaim God’s love to all who look upon it.

“It will certainly stand out for a few years before becoming weathered like the rest of the church’s masonry.

“Ashley Cross is such a vibrant urban village and it’s wonderful to work with the local parishioners, community groups, and even the pubs and cafes on Parr Street, who really appreciate our role in serving the local community.”

Revd Mike added: “Let’s hope that lightning never strikes twice.”