They’ve been at it again…

The Church of All Saints in the Wyke Regis area of Weymouth, Dorset, dates from 1172 and has an ornate stone pulpit added in the 16th Century.

Services have been held throughout the centuries and there is no record of any clergyman ever being injured as he mounted the pulpit to give his sermon.

However, a visit by Health and Safety officials from the local council and the pulpit has been declared ‘dangerous’, as preachers could possibly be injured as they climb the seven spiral steps.

The health and safety officers suggested the addition of a metal or plastic handrail to the 16th Century pulpit, an idea which appalled the local diocese and was firmly rejected.

Fortunately, the churchwarden, Gary Hepburn, happens to be a health and safety consultant and drawing on his professional experience, he knew the type of things which needed to be said in order to reassure the inspectors and, more importantly, the way they should be expressed.

So, no guardrail, but a list of ‘safety instructions’ for anyone using the pulpit. These include:

A pledge that no one under the influence of drink or drugs will be allowed to use the pulpit.

The steps shall not be approached in dim lighting, or by anyone with poor vision or wearing bifocals, or by anyone feeling unwell.

Those entering or leaving the pulpit are advised to make maximum use of the structure itself and the stone column supporting it to steady themselves.

So all’s well that ends well, the jobsworths are happy with their bit of paper and the diocese are happy that everything can carry on as normal.

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