Preacher is head over heals convert

PRACTICE what you preach is the motto and Reverend David Shawcross is doing just that.On Saturday he will be taking his courage in both hands to throw himself off the roof of Ipswich hospital to raise money for charity.

By Jessica Nicholls

PRACTICE what you preach is the motto and Reverend David Shawcross is doing just that.

On Saturday he will be taking his courage in both hands to throw himself off the roof of Ipswich hospital to raise money for charity.

Thankfully he will be harnessed up because is taking part in the annual Ipswich Hospital charity abseil, taking place this Saturday and Sunday.


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This is the seventh year the abseil, which usually raises thousands of pounds for charity, has been running and it is hoped this year will be the one to bump the proceeds over the £500,000 mark.

Last year more than 1,600 people stepped off the roof during the course of the weekend, but this time the organisers Main Event Group (Activities) have had to cut that to 1,400 people.

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Frank Turmel , general manager of MEGA said that in previous years people had been abseiling from 6am to 9.30pm so it was necessary to shorten the day.

Although it is not the first time Mr Shawcross has abseiled, he is still a little unsure about taking the first step off the top of the hospital and dropping into 100 feet of thin air.

Not surprising after the last time he abseiled he ended up going down head first.

He said: "I do a lot of climbing and abseiling is just a way of getting down.

"Last time I went I made the classic mistake of coming down head first with two tonnes of rope around my leg.

"My daughter was at the top shouting 'mind the rocks' – but I thought blow the rocks what about my head?"

But 54-year-old Mr Shawcross has put all that behind him now and is busily preparing himself for Saturday's abseil when he will raise lots of money for the Alan Road Development Fund.

He is vicar at the Alan Road Methodist church, and money is being raised for the renovation and rebuilding of the back rooms, which are often used by the community for various meetings and groups such as the Boys Brigade.

This is not the first time he has been airborne for charity and when he lived in Lancashire was involved in fundraising for the development of the church there.

He said: "They made me give up after the second bungee jump, I don't know whether it was for their sakes or mine."

But Mr Shawcross knows that if he expects other people to raise money he must also put in the effort himself.

He said: "I think if you want to encourage other people to do something, you should do something

yourself."

The abseil is taking place between 8am and 6pm this Saturday and Sunday down the maternity block of Ipswich Hospital.

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