Alton Webteam: September 2017
A few years after the church had been refurbished, a strange thing began to happen. One by one, over a period of months, the lights in the sanctuary began to go out. This was surprising, because the light fittings had been chosen to last for over ten years, on account of the difficulty of getting up to change them! So why were they failing early?
Lin and Duncan Fitch were able to obtain a hydraulic lift to gain access to the loft. Jacob George started the investigation. At this point, David Kember suggested that his son-in-law, Mark Reed, might be able to help. Jacob and Mark quickly discovered that the problem was caused by overheating of the lights, due to the additional insulation which had been put in during the refurbishment, directly on top of the light units. They therefore designed and sourced covers to go above the light units, to provide some cooling space, and set about ordering replacement light units. A simple task, you would think, but no — the light units were no longer made!
So Jacob and Mark began to look for units to replace the existing ones — preferably units which generated less heat! After much searching, they found a light source which they thought might be suitable — but it was only available from Bulgaria. They ordered just one, and, using a single failed unit from the church, Mark set about modifiying it on his workbench, incorporating the Bulgarian LED light source. It worked!
So a large batch of LEDs was ordered, and Mark started on the long task of converting the 52 Church lighting units, one by one, on his workbench. Access to the lights and the roof space above was difficult, so Mark's Dad, Norman came to the rescue with an access scaffold tower, which he had to modify specially to suit our roof!
Replacing the lights could only be done from above, so Mark designed a system to allow the replacement units to be changed from below. Each light unit was assembled and individually tested before being installed, and the work was finally completed at the end of August, in good time for the darker evenings.
We are hugely grateful to all these people, along with one or two others, not to mention their long-suffering wives, for the immense amount of time and effort they put in to making the sanctuary a brighter place.
So . . . . How many men does it take to change a light bulb?
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