BLACKBURN Cathedral has a proud new addition – an 18ft flag pole with a hand-carved bishop’s mitre on top.

A crane put the £2,000 pole and finial piece in place on top of the Cathedral tower this week.

And the addition means the flag of St George can also now fly high.

The pole, which had to be made from a single tree, has been bought to replace a 40-year-old predecessor which had rotted and was not been used for two years.

The bishop’s mitre has been hand-carved by world expert carver, Mark Bridges, of Sussex and took three months to complete.

The mitre is a just over three feet high and is made of solid oak weighing 50kg.

It has been finished with gold leaf and paint and features the red rose of Lancashire and the cross keys of the coat of arms of the cathedral.

The flag pole was hauled up on top of the west tower and secured by a crane on Monday and the roof was then due to be made watertight yesterday.

Members of the diocese decided a year ago that a new flag pole was needed and decided to dedicate it to Harold Thornber.

Mr Thornber is a former cathedral warden and archivist who died 18 months ago.

The whole project has cost £20,000, with £2,000 being donated from the friends of Blackburn Cathedral and the rest donated from money left by Mr Thornber.

Canon Andrew Hindley said: ”It is quite important to us that we can fly flags here for ceremonial occasions such as the Queen’s birthday and fly it at half mast as a mark of respect.

“After seeing flag poles at other cathedrals we thought that it would be fitting to place a decorative bishop’s mitre on top.

“It signifies that we are a Cathedral, not just a church, and the red rose signifies that the cathedral is the cathedral for Lancashire.

“The cross keys are on the coat of arms in the cathedral.

“The design is a stylised mitre which people should be able to relate to and hopefully will last another 40 years.”