Heavenly descent at Spinnaker Tower

Father James McAuley  abseils down the Spinnaker Tower

Father James McAuley abseils down the Spinnaker Tower

Second World War re-enactors at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, which is backing the City of Culture bid Picture: Habibur Rahman

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CLUTCHING on to the ledge, Father James McAuley was trying his best not to look down.

But once he let go there was only one direction to go.

Father James abseiled down the Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays to raise money for an African hospital.

The father of St John’s Catholic Cathedral in Portsmouth said: ‘We were thinking of ways to raise money and a parishioner talked about doing an abseil.

‘My first thought was “absolutely not”, but then I started thinking about it.’

The church is twinned with the Dioceses of Bamenda – a city in Cameroon.

St Martin’s Hospital is in the city, and money raised from the abseil will be donated to the site to help disease prevention.

‘I visited the hospital in February and it inspired me to do something for them,’ added Father James.

‘The money will be used to educate people on the importance of hygiene and healthcare.’

This was the first time Father James had taken part in an abseil.

He added: ‘I was only really nervous when I was clinging on to the edge and I was told to go over.

‘It goes against everything you want to do.

‘Then you get told to let go, which is even more unnatural.

‘However once I did I was concentrating on how to get down.’

It raised £2,000.

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