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Ecclesiastical flies in new flagpole for Belvoir Castle

  • Helicopter used to fly in new flagpole for historic Leicestershire property 

  • Operation went ahead after months of waiting for right conditions 

  • Photographs available

2 April 2015

Flying the flag has long been a tradition at stately Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire; flying the flagpole, on the other hand, is an entirely different affair...but that’s precisely what specialist heritage insurer Ecclesiastical did today in order to replace the castle’s damaged flagpole.

Using a chartered helicopter, a team working for Ecclesiastical flew in a new 11-metre-long flagpole and secured it to the roof of the castle’s south-east turret.

The new pole replaces one which was broken by high winds in February last year.

A helicopter had to be used because the presence of cellars and voids underground meant that a crane could not be positioned close to the castle to hoist a new pole into place. Scaffolding was also ruled out due to the potential for damage to the building’s roof. The potential for downdraft from the helicopter to damage the roof was also a serious consideration in the operation.

At 11am today, the helicopter, a 1975 Bell Huey, lifted the flagpole vertically from a spot close to the castle and flew it over the roof, from where a specialist team were able to reach the bottom of the new pole and secure it to the undamaged lower half of the pole. The entire operation took 45 minutes.

Andrew Brown, Church & Heritage Claims Director from Ecclesiastical said: “This was a unique challenge for us. As a specialist heritage insurer, we’ve been called upon to repair many of Britain’s finest buildings, but this is the first time we’ve needed to fly the flag quite so literally.

“It was always going to be touch and go whether we’d get the green light for the operation. Carrying such a large, heavy flagpole vertically would have been dangerous if the wind speed had exceeded 10 knots.”

The replacement flagpole was made for Ecclesiastical in Bristol by Bristol Wooden Flagpoles and then transported by road to the Vale of Belvoir. It is made of the finest marine grade Sitka spruce and took a month to shape by hand. The company also oversaw the production of a stainless steel bracket 1.8 metres high and weighing 120kg to secure the new pole to the base of the old pole.

Belvoir Castle, the seat of the Dukes of Rutland, sits high on a hill in Leicestershire, overlooking 16,000 acres of woodland and farmland. The castle was used as a location in the films The Da Vinci Code and Young Victoria among others.

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Media enquiries
Adrian Oldman, PR Manager, Ecclesiastical Insurance
Tel: 0800 783 8141
Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ.

Adrian Beeby, Ellipsis Communication
Tel: 07879 403564

Notes to editors

About Ecclesiastical
Owned by a registered charity, Allchurches Trust, Ecclesiastical is a unique financial services organisation. With its main operations and headquarters in the UK, Ecclesiastical also operates in Australia, Canada and Ireland.
Ecclesiastical is a specialist insurer of charities, the education and faith sectors, heritage buildings and fine art.
Founded in 1887 to provide insurance for the Anglican Church, the company now offers a wide range of commercial insurances, as well as home insurance, selling through brokers and directly.
Ecclesiastical also offers a range of ethically screened investment funds through its award-winning investment management business, Ecclesiastical Investment Management. Ecclesiastical is one of UK’s Top Company Donors to Charity according to the 2013/2014 UK Guide to Company Giving.
Ecclesiastical’s Group vision, launched in January 2014, states that the Group intends to give £50m to charity between 2014-2016. In 2014 alone the company donated a total of £23.5m towards the £50m goal.
Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc (EIG) Reg No 1718196. Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc (EIO) Reg No 24869. Ecclesiastical Life Ltd (ELL) Reg No 243111. Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services Ltd (EFAS) Reg No 2046087. Ecclesiastical Underwriting Management Ltd (EUML) Reg No 2368571. E.I.O. Trustees Ltd Reg No 941199. EdenTree Investment Management Ltd (EIM) Reg No 2519319. All companies are registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ. EIO and ELL are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 113848 (EIO) and 110318 (ELL). EFAS and EIM are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm Reference Number 126123 (EFAS) and 527473 (EIM). EUML is an appointed representative of EIO who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 402228.