A VICAR conquered a lifelong fear of heights to abseil nearly 80ft down his church tower.
Only a few months ago, Rev David Scurr, of St Chad’s Church, Farndon, refused to even climb the steps up to the tower but on Saturday he braved the challenging drop with gusto to raise money for the tower’s restoration.
Hundreds of residents turned out to support Mr Scurr, with more than 30 joining him for the sponsored abseil.
Lifelong churchgoer Fred Heathfields who served in the Second World War didn’t let his age stop him from taking part in the fun - the 90 year-old scaled the drop as a ‘personal challenge’.
Mr Scurr hopes the abseil, the black tie dinner held after the event and other fundraising activities, will have raised a whopping £10,000 for the tower fund.
Mr Scurr said he feels ‘absolutely elated’ to complete the challenge, although he’s not looking to repeat it any time soon.
He added: “I’m proud of myself. I felt absolutely fantastic when I landed on the ground because it was terrifying balancing on the ledge at the top.
“I feel great but it’s not something I’m looking to do again – I mean, it’s scary walking off the tops of buildings, isn’t it?
“I’ve come a long way to conquering my fear of heights.
“It was an excellent day that brought the community together. The money was secondary really.”
And thanks to a £50 dare, Mr Scurr wasn’t hard to miss on the day, as his hair was dyed red.
“I looked like Ken Dodd’s younger brother but it made people laugh and I’m always up for a dare,” he said.
The Farndon community has united to organise fundraisers for the restoration of the 14th century tower.
It is in urgent need of repair, and though a £30,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage means that it’s well on the way to being restored, about £15,000 more is still needed.
What next for the church fund?
“I might do a sky-dive,” said Mr Scurr. “But only if the price is right!”
St Chad’s Church is organising a concert on November 17 to raise money for Farndon families whose homes were affected by the recent fire in the village. For details call 01829 270270.