Loyola Hall damaged as gale carnage rips through town

The damage caused to Loyola Hall by a tree knocked down in last week's gales
The damage caused to Loyola Hall by a tree knocked down in last week's gales

Gale force winds caused an ancient tree to fall and smash through the roof of a building at a Jesuit spirituality centre in St Helens.

Helpless staff at Loyola Hall in Rainhill could only watch on as a giant Beech tree smashed through the roof of an on-site meeting room - known as Beech Hall - at about 5.30pm last Wednesday (February 12).

Two cars were also damaged - one of them badly - as the 100-year-old tree came to rest on part of a two-storey building. Fortunately, nobody was injured.

Fr Matthew Power, one of Loyola Hall’s Jesuit Priests, said: “One of our team members actually saw the tree come down. There was nothing they could do.

“They got one of the directors and discovered that the tree had smashed through the roof of Beech Hall - a 1920s hut we use as a meeting room.

“The branches stretched right across half of the hut and caused it to partially collapse. Thankfully there was nobody inside Beech Hall at the time. There had been earlier on in the day.

“It was a major shock and caused major damage. We’re just glad nobody was hurt.”

When firefighters arrived at the scene, maintenance staff had already isolated utilities to make the area safe.

Insurers are due at the Warrington Road site tomorrow to survey the damage.

Opened as a Jesuit centre in 1923, Loyola Hall offers spiritual retreats for believers. Last year it was announced the hall will close at Easter.