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Warden’s leap of faith to raise money for church

13:00 27 April 2012

Rev Ian Byrne and churchwarden Sarah-Jane Lavington are doing a skydive for charity

Rev Ian Byrne and churchwarden Sarah-Jane Lavington are doing a skydive for charity

Archant

A churchwarden will be throwing herself out of an aeroplane today as she helps to raise money for her beloved church.

Sarah-Jane Lavington, 70, will be doing a skydive above Beccles as she tries to help generate money for repairs to Barsham with Shipmeadow church.

The church, which dates back to before 1042, needs repairs to windows, lighting, wiring and a buttress and, with funds low, something dramatic had to happen.

The Rev Ian Byrne, who is responsible for three churches in the Bungay Benefice, said: “We’ve got to the point that we have to do something like this to raise the profile of the church and catch the public’s imagination.

“It comes to something when you get to the big 70 and are still thinking of throwing yourself out of the back of a plane for it.”

Mr Byrne, 58, will also be doing a jump in the summer, but Mrs Lavington will be going first.

The money raised will hopefully be able to allow a buttress to receive the specialist repair work needed to stop it collapsing.

Mrs Lavington has been at the church for four years, having previously worked in Scotland with children with special needs, but she has quickly warmed to it, calling those involved “unique, friendly and sincere”.

She thanked everyone who has donated so far and added: “When the doctor signed me off he said it lasts four years, but I don’t think I’ll be doing it again.”

The church is one of many across the region currently facing problems to raise enough money to afford repairs.

In February, All Saints Church in Mettingham, near Bungay, held a meeting to find ways to replace lead that was stolen from its roof.

The church, which Mr Byrne is also in charge of, came up with a number of forthcoming fundraisers including a plough day.

To donate call 01502 719754.

richard.wood@archant.co.uk

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