Congregation in leap of faith for church funds

Left to right: Abseilers Mary Bish, Barry Lee, Norah Coote, Katherine Gard, David Power, Kay Coombes, Clayton Coombes and Callum Beale
Left to right: Abseilers Mary Bish, Barry Lee, Norah Coote, Katherine Gard, David Power, Kay Coombes, Clayton Coombes and Callum Beale

From broken bones to new beginnings

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Dangling 42ft in the air is not the way most vicars spend their time. But Reverend David Power has done it twice this year as he joined worshippers in charity abseils.

Rev Power organised and took part in the summer events to raise money for St Cuthbert’s Church, in Hayling Avenue, Copnor.

The 55-year-old, of Lichfield Road, Copnor, has been vicar at the church for 14 years and has been organising fundraising events since 1999.

Through grants from various organisations, a sponsored marathon run, barn dances, quiz nights and a lot of generous donations from members of his congregation, he has managed to raise £4.4m over the past 13 years.

In July and August, Rev Power organised the abseils as another way to raise cash.

He said: ‘The money has enabled us to re-develop the church building itself, including a large GP surgery, a community centre, a Sure Start children’s centre plus a pre-school play group.

‘We also have an education centre for adults with learning difficulties, run in partnership with Portsmouth College.

‘I am delighted and grateful to all those who took partin the abseil and sponsored us.

‘Some people found it scary – especially that step backwards that feels like you’re walking into thin air’.

In all 14 people took part in the abseil – seven in July and seven in August – at the Calshot Activities Centre.

Abseils were due to take place at the church, but the group could not get insurance clearance.

The events raised around £2,500.

Most of the people who took part in the abseiling events were members of the congregation. The youngest was 14 and the oldest was 80-year-old Norah Coote.

Norah, of Chesterfield Road, Copnor, said: ‘I like being involved in things, and I have been a part of the congregation for a very long time.

‘So when I found out about the event, I said why not?’

Another participant, Mary Bish, 65, of Langstone Road, Milton, took part dressed as Spider-Man.

She said: ‘I thought if I was going to climb down the wall like Spiderman, then I’d dress like Spiderman.

‘I was a bit shaky when I landed on the ground.

Mary added: ‘But we had the chance to do it twice that day, so I decided to do it again for my twin brother who died, and the second time round it wasn’t too scary’.