Nidderdale vicar to abseil 50-feet down church tower

A Nidderdale vicar and some of his parishioners are to take a leap of faith this weekend to aid their church community development project.

By Janet Harrison
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 4:40 pm

Rev Alastair Ferneley, of Dacre with Hartwith & Darley with Thornthwaite, is to abseil down the tower of Holy Trinity, Dacre Banks between 1-5pm on Sunday May 22.

“The abseil was a slightly mad idea we thought might raise the funds, and the profile of the project in the wider community, as well as being a fun occasion for anyone involved,” said Rev Ferneley.

The £30,000 church community development project aims to make the building attractive for events and services such as weddings and funerals.

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“We intend to install a toilet in the vestry at the bottom of the tower for visitors to use, and a kitchenette unit at the back of church, as well as adapt the choir vestry to make up the storage space that will be lost,” added Rev Ferneley who has been vicar at the parish for six years.

“The project may cost up to £30,000 but through some generous donations already we have about £23,000 in the fund.

“We need a final push to get us over the line.”

Rev Ferneley will be accompanied by volunteers from the church and community, aided by staff from How Stean Gorge.

Although a lover of fell walking in the Lake District, he admits that abseiling about 50 feet down the tower will be a challenge.

He added: “While I’m not particularly bothered by heights, and like a fairly fearsome scramble, going up or down sheer drops is not really my thing. I usually go round. So, this is a bit out of my comfort zone.

“I think some of the parishioners think I am mad (they may be right), but others are keen to join me and have a go.

“The good folk from How Stean Gorge are well used to doing this sort of activity, so we are happy to trust ourselves to them.”

People can go along and watch the abseil on Sunday, between 1-5pm, or even have a go themselves for a donation, subject to being able to complete How Stean Gorge’s health form.

To sponsor Rev Ferneley, fill in the form at the church, email [email protected] or 780262 or donate via (search for Alastair Ferneley).