A COUNCILLOR scaled a town’s riverside cliffs to repaint its decades-old Union Jack rock face flag in celebration of the coronation.

Cllr Dale Rook of Chepstow Town Council was ferried across the river and helped by the Severn Area Rescue Association lifeboat crew from Beachley in his heroic decision to repaint the famous flag at Gloucester Hole, above the River Wye on the English shore.

Four crew assisted with preparing the site and transporting him at low tide. And the flag is now back to its brilliant bright colours to mark the coronation of King Charles III.

A SARA spokesperson said: “The event gave the crew some good real-time training in organising the ladder arrangements, as well as an opportunity for some boat CPD (continuing professional development) while Dale was up the ladder.”

Chepstow town clerk Lucy Allen said: “The Union Flag painted on the cliff face of the Wye has been a part of the Chepstow riverbank scenery since 1935, when it was first painted ahead of the Silver Jubilee of King George V.

“Over the decades it has been repainted a few times, and with the Coronation of King Charles III, it was very fitting that volunteers took the task in hand again.

“We would like to thank all of the volunteers for making this possible, and to SARA for providing the means to reach the cliff, and support whilst the painting took place.”

The Gloucester Hole - a square opening in the limestone cliffs - was reputed to have been used by smugglers to store their ill-gotten gains when Chepstow was one of the busiest ports in Wales in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Other suggestions include its use by the Shirenewton Quakers for storing tea, or for the storing of explosives by Brunel when the railway was being built.

In the early to mid-1800s, it was fitted with a crane at its mouth to unload large ships that could only moor in deep water.

The flag also sits across the river opposite another new Wye ‘icon’ - the ‘baked potato’ sculpture – an art installation supposed to represent a pebble, which has been compared by some to the humble cooked vegetable wrapped in silver foil.