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MSP defies heights fear to admire improvements on Moray steeple

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An MSP defied a fear of heights as he commended a community group on its lofty achievements in restoring a Moray landmark.

Douglas Ross nervously scaled huge ladders inside the tower of the Bellie Church in Fochabers to get a close look at the work performed on bringing its distinctive steeple up to scratch.

The congregation spent two years raising the £200,000 needed to renovate the historic venue’s tower, clock and steeple.

And after securing donations from several grant bodies, the work was completed earlier this month and the A-listed church held a special dedication service at the weekend.

Visiting the 200-year-old building yesterday, Mr Ross took the opportunity to have a close look at the improvements.

The Conservative MSP, who also represents the Fochabers Lhanbryde ward on Moray Council, said: “Whilst not normally one for heights, I was impressed after scaling the ladders inside the tower to see the full extent of the works.

“I was asked to sign the bell, but I’m not sure how legible my signature was as my hand was shaking that much.

“Nonetheless, I appreciated the chance to see the clock mechanism and the bell, which is a well known sound as its chimes are heard throughout the village.

“The congregation clearly take a great pride in their church and they are to be congratulated for their efforts to ensure this tower will continue to dominate the skyline for many more years to come.”

The work was undertaken to fix the leaking spire, and it is now wind and water tight.

Historic tours have begun at the church to shine a light on its past.

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