Man falls off church tower during maintenance work

Monday 24th April 2017.

IMG_2536 (2).JPGThurning church in north Norfolk, where a repairman’s harness broke, while fixing the church clock. PC: Olivia Frost

Repairman, Andrew McCann, has fallen off Thurning church tower while doing work on the church clock.

McCann was abseiling down the tower when his harness snapped causing him to fall to the ground. McCann was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich hospital by air ambulance.

The repairman was discharged later that day with minor back injuries.

£5,000 refurbishment plan

The work on the clock is a part of the local parish £5,000 church refurbishment contract. Churchwarden, Ian Duffield, was present at the time of the scene: “Andrew was abseiling down from the tower.

He’d just started his decent when the harness broke. We’ve never had this happen before in Thurning. Maintenance work generally goes smoothly without any incidents”.


Most of the repair men were inside the tower, working on the clock from the inside. PC: Olivia Frost

There were five workmen working on Thurning church the day McCann fell, and the team have reassured Duffield that they will continue.

McCann said: ‘I have worked with the same team for years. The equipment has always worked and used safely.

These things, unfortunately, sometimes happen and I’ll ensure that the rest of the churches get refurbished. It hasn’t put us off”.

‘Confidence in scheme knocked.’

North Norfolk district council member, Pierre Butikofer, has spoken of the effect the incident has had on the plans. Butikofer is district committee member for Thurning parish.

He said: “a lot of time and money has been invested in the plan. Thurning is only one of seven churches being refurbished.

Everyone is talking about the accident and not the positive impact the work will have on the community”.

 Common causes of air ambulance calls

  • Road traffic collision
  • Paediatric trauma
  • Medical emergency
  • Mountain rescue

Air ambulance incidents

incidents (2)

Map of air ambulance missions in north Norfolk since 2014.

This year, the ‘East Anglian Air Ambulance’ service has already had 334 missions in 2017, with a total of 84 missions in April 2017.

This includes 42 incidents in Norfolk including the north Norfolk areas Fakenham, Cromer and west Runton.


Olivia Frost