Leap to earth from a heavenly perch at Pakefield

Reverend Mark Capron who is himself taking part in the abseil at the Church on the Cliff at Pakefiel

Reverend Mark Capron who is himself taking part in the abseil at the Church on the Cliff at Pakefield. PICTURES: Mick Howes. - Credit: Archant

Brave souls with a head for heights are being sought as part of a church challenge.

A call has this week gone out to hardy locals interested in challenging themselves to do something different next month – by joining a clergyman in abseiling down a church tower.

The Church on the Cliff at Pakefield will be the setting for the crusade, as 30 volunteers are being sought to take part in the daredevil descent on Saturday, June 1 starting from 10am.

The venture was the idea of the Rev Mark Capron, who will be taking part in the abseil.

He said: 'The church tower is 60ft high and has some spectacular views from the top. Its coastal position and height offers a terrific vantage point from which to view the sea and shoreline as well as to get an aerial view of Pakefield and Kirkley.'

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The abseil is being overseen by former Royal Marine Christopher Pretty, of Halesworth, who is a member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors and has abseiled down many high buildings across Norfolk and Suffolk.

He said: 'Pakefield Church offers one of the most beautiful views for abseiling that anyone could want and it is probably the most easterly.

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'Although the descent down the south face of the church tower is straightforward, the abseilers will have an added excitement as they contend with the church battlements to begin their challenge. Stepping out over the edge is always the hardest bit.'

The abseil is fully insured and will go ahead unless the weather conditions make it too dangerous to proceed. After a safety briefing, climbers will go up the tower in groups of five, with 15 descending before lunch and the remainder afterwards.

Mr Capron said 'We ask prospective abseilers to raise a minimum of £20 in sponsorship with funds being shared between Pakefield Church and Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat.

'The volunteers need to be physically fit as access to the top of the tower is by climbing ladders in the belfry. Abseilers need to be at least 16 years old but there is no upper age limit.'

On the day there will be a bouncy castle for young children to enjoy and plenty of food and drink for sale including bacon butties, ice-creams and cream teas. The lead-up to the event can also be followed on Facebook.

As well as Mr Capron, five others have already volunteered and others interested in finding out more information or wanting an application form should e-mail pakefieldchurchtowerabseil@yahoo.co.uk

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