Giant cherry picker replaces Chorley Mormon temple statue damaged in lightning strike

A gold-plated statue of an angel that sits atop the Mormon temple in Chorley has been replaced after it was damaged by lightning.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 7:02 pm
For 23 years, the statue has been an eye-catching Chorley landmark and has captured the gaze of those travelling past the town on the M61. Picture by Phil McGuigan

An enormous cherry picker arrived on Friday (October 8) to replace the statue of the angel Moroni which has stood on top of the 48m (159 ft) spire since the opening of the Preston England Temple in 1998.

For 23 years, the statue has been an eye-catching Chorley landmark and has captured the gaze of those travelling past the town on the M61.

But earlier this year, the gold-leaf figure - which sits atop many of the Mormon temples worldwide and serves as a lightning rod - was damaged when it took a direct hit in a storm.

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A giant crane and cherry picker arrived on Friday (October 8) to replace the statue of the angel Moroni which has stood on top of the 48m (159 ft) spire since the opening of the Preston England Temple in 1998

In a careful day-long operation on Friday, a brave workman hitched a ride aboard a giant cherry picker to the top of the spire to replace the damaged statue.

In its place, a newly sculpted and gleaming statue was lifted 160ft into the air and carefully installed on the white granite spire, where it will again serve as a symbol of the Mormon faith for years to come.

Who is Moroni and what is the angel's significance to Mormonism?

The Angel Moroni is an angel whom Joseph Smith - the founder of the Latter Day Saints - reported as having visited him on numerous occasions.

The gold-leaf statue of the angel Moroni - which sits atop the Mormon temple in Chorley - was damaged in a lightning strike earlier this year. Pic: Preston England Temple

According to Smith, the angel was the guardian of the golden plates, buried in a hill near Smith's home in New York. Latter Day Saints believe the plates were the source material for the Book of Mormon.

The image of the angel Moroni blowing a trumpet is commonly used as an unofficial symbol of the LDS Church. Moroni appears on the cover of some editions of the Book of Mormon and statues of the angel stand atop many LDS temples, with most statues facing east.

A new gold-leaf statue of the angel Moroni has been fitted atop the Preston England Temple in Chorley after the original figure was damaged in a lightning storm earlier this year. Pic: Preston England Temple