Blustery weather fails to deter brave abseilers from taking a leap of faith from church tower

Part of the Neighbourhood Response Team who took part in the descent. Picture: Michelle Clarke

Part of the Neighbourhood Response Team who took part in the descent. Picture: Michelle Clarke - Credit: Archant

A rector took a leap of faith from a clifftop church tower as part of efforts to help boost an appeal for the building's upkeep.

Rev Sharon Lord and instructor Chris Pretty (centre) preparing for the descent. Picture: Mick Howes

Rev Sharon Lord and instructor Chris Pretty (centre) preparing for the descent. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

Rev Sharon Lord, the Rector of Pakefield Church, accepted the challenge to be the first to abseil down the church tower during a special fundraising event for daredevils on Saturday, June 8.

And despite the weather being less than perfect, a group of 35 abseilers successfully completed the descent of the church tower at All Saints and St Margaret Parish Church in Pakefield.

Brave souls take the leap of faith from Pakefield Church tower. Rev Sharon Lord. Picture: Mick Howes

Brave souls take the leap of faith from Pakefield Church tower. Rev Sharon Lord. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

Organiser Michelle Clarke said: "We feared that extremely high winds could stop us but qualified instructor Chris Pretty and his team who were overseeing the descent, checked first thing and said we could go ahead.

"We have had a super response from the local community.

Brave souls took a leap of faith from Pakefield Church tower, with Rev Sharon Lord giving it a thumb

Brave souls took a leap of faith from Pakefield Church tower, with Rev Sharon Lord giving it a thumbs up. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant


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"Both men and women have taken the challenge with our youngest abseiler being 16-years-old and our oldest being Michael Peek, 74, who is registered blind and a regular member of the congregation.

"We also had a group who are part of the Neighbourhood Response Team, one of whom was from Lowestoft Police Station.

The Rev Sharon Lord after completing the descent. Picture: Mick Howes

The Rev Sharon Lord after completing the descent. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

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"They respond to emergency calls all over the town and out as far as Bungay and were all on duty the following day - so were keen to make it down in one piece!"

Speaking after her descent Rev Sharon Lord said: "I really enjoyed the experience - it was great fun.

Michael Peek after completing the descent. Picture: Mick Howes

Michael Peek after completing the descent. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

"The view from the top of the tower was amazing. I could see the wind turbine in one direction and Kessingland in the other.

"Being only 5ft 3in tall I found getting over the top was a bit tricky, especially when trying to find a foothold on the first ledge - but I put my trust in Chris Pretty and his team who did a superb job.

"They were brilliant using their expertise and experience with all the abseilers and giving many of the first timers encouragement when needed."

The Rector added: "The church was busy all day with supporters and members of the congregation watching the event.

"I would like to thank everyone who helped. It was also great to see so many people willing to take up the challenge and we hope to do it all again in 2020.

"The money raised from the sponsored abseil will be split equally between the Lowestoft Foodbank and Pakefield Church maintenance fund."

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