The 96-year-old Dales man who abseiled 50ft to raise funds for his church restoration in lovely Nidderdale

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A Nidderdale vicar says he is stunned that one of his parishioners has abseiled 50ft at the age of 96 to help restore his church after a historic blaze.

The Rev Alastair Ferneley, vicar of Dacre with Hartwith & Darley with Thornthwaite, said he was surprised by who turned up for the fundraising event at Holy Trinity church in Dacre Banks.

Located midway between Dacre and Summerbridge, the church hasn't been redecorated since it was restored after a major fire in 1991.

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Rev Ferneley, who took part in the event, said: "Several of us had signed up and been sponsored by friends and family to abseil down the church tower.

The fundraising charity abseil down the 50ft tower at Holy Trinity Church in Dacre Banks. (Picture contributed)The fundraising charity abseil down the 50ft tower at Holy Trinity Church in Dacre Banks. (Picture contributed)
The fundraising charity abseil down the 50ft tower at Holy Trinity Church in Dacre Banks. (Picture contributed)

"Then we opened it up, for a donation, to anyone who wanted to have a go.

"In total, 24 people of all ages took part, helped by instructors from How Stean Gorge.

"I was a bit concerned when Dr Leonard Barrett, who’s 96, said he wanted to have a go!

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“Shuffling yourself over the edge and trusting to the rope is not something even the young and fit find themselves able to do."

Dr Leonard Barrett, who is aged 96, just before his abseil down the tower of the 19th century church in the Nidderdale area. (Picture contributed)Dr Leonard Barrett, who is aged 96, just before his abseil down the tower of the 19th century church in the Nidderdale area. (Picture contributed)
Dr Leonard Barrett, who is aged 96, just before his abseil down the tower of the 19th century church in the Nidderdale area. (Picture contributed)

Built in 1837, the Grade II Listed building is seeking to redecorate the interior of Holy Trinity church to make the building attractive for events and services such as weddings and funerals.

Funds are also required to restore the clock-face on the church tower.

If you sponsored an abseiler or would like to donate, call the vicar on 01423 780262, email [email protected] or search or visit: https://www.justgiving.com/page/alastair-ferneley-1713099364721