From Deeping St Nicholas to New Zealand: the saw helping rebuild earthquake-hit cathedral

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A quake-hit cathedral on the other side of the world is being rebuilt with the help of a saw from Deeping St Nicholas.

Plans for the 82ft high church in Christchurch, New Zealand, hit national headlines because it will be made of cardboard tubes, as well as timber beams, structural steel and a concrete pad.

Wellcut Ltd was approached to build a 1200 wellcut diamond-tipped saw to cut hard limestone corner stones that are also being used in the building.

A family business based in Main Road, John Wells said they were thrilled to get the order because the cathedral will be such an iconic building.

Mr Wells said: “Although we have exported around the world before, we are particularly excited to get this order because everyone saw the devastation in Christchurch and what happened to the cathedral. It is such a nice project to work on.”

The 131-year-old Gothic-style landmark was left beyond repair by the earthquake in February last year, which killed 185 people and destroyed much of the city centre.

Its £5.3million replacement has been designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, who has used cardboard as a material for other temporary buildings, including a “paper church” which used as a community centre after the 1995 Kobe earthquake in Japan.

The new cathedral is expected to have a 20-year life span, so the community can deconstruct it in a few years and reassemble it for a community centre or other purposes.

Wellcut’s saw, which took a month to build, was shipped out to New Zealand last week. Cathedral leaders hope to have the building completed by November for the visit of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Established 30 years ago, Wellcut Ltd is now the only company in the UK to build bespoke stone cutting saws, mainly used by the quarry industry.