Missing Gorleston cross now bigger and better

IT mysteriously disappeared from the heart of Gorleston, but now a local church has a bigger and brighter cross back – thanks to the surrounding community and a Scottish oil rig.

In June, the Mercury reported how a cross that had stood 50ft high on the top of St Mary Magdalene Church and acted as a lightning conductor, vanished into thin air, leaving many bewildered.

And though it is a riddle that may never be solved, Wednesday last week marked an overcoming of adversity as a new cross, this time illuminated, was hauled into its place.

David Ricketts is church fabric officer and husband to the Rev Linda Ricketts. He said: “It’s a fair bit bigger than the last one – it was hard to judge on size from the ground – but it’s looking really good and it’s great to get it up there.”

The specially made metal cross stands more than four feet tall, with a light at the top that will shine from dusk till dawn.

The moment follows on from a hunt to find funding after the church insurance money fell short of the �3,500 required by more than a �1,000.

The total was a combination of the new cross, which cost �1,400, and preparing equipment to allow insurance inspectors a better look at the stump that remained.

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For David and his wife, it was time to look to the congregation and beyond.

David said: “I wrote letters to businesses and spread the word to find the extra money and we got a great response.”

Help did not always come from obvious places.

He added: “After sending the letters out, we even ended up with having people on an oil rig in Aberdeen raise funds for us, collecting �350 through competitions.”

One of those who also lent a helping hand was the landlord at The Magdalen Arms, who held a fireworks night to make up the �150 still required.

“Everyone was very angry and sad when we lost the old cross and we still don’t know what happened to it – police are still keeping an eye out. But people have been great in helping out afterwards and we’d like to thank them for that.”