Reading the good book to raise funds

SETTLING down to read a good book cover to cover is about to take on a whole new meaning for the Rev Sharon Swain.For the "good book" she has chosen to read out loud is The Bible and it is expected to take her 70 hours to get from beginning to end.

SETTLING down to read a good book cover to cover is about to take on a whole new meaning for the Rev Sharon Swain.

For the "good book" she has chosen to read out loud is The Bible and it is expected to take her 70 hours to get from beginning to end.

Mrs Swain, 56, rector of Brantham and East Bergholt and the author of more than 15 books on church topics, will begin her marathon reading session at 7am on Tuesday.

Then and on subsequent days – probably until Saturday – she will continue until midnight, having a 10-minute break each hour.


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Mrs Swain's aim in doing the bible-read is to not only to raise money for the repair of the Brantham church roof but to stimulate more local organisations to help.

The condition of the roof is poor and, while £26,500 has already been raised, a further £49,000 has to be found.

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"It will be great if people support the event – by coming along to listen for a little while – but the main reason for doing it is to publicise the plight of the church roof and the need for action. I also want to raise the profile of our bibles and the need to read them regularly," she said.

Mrs Swain has previously taken part in 24-hour "knit-ins" and "sing-ins" and had the idea of the bible "reading" while trying to think of something new to do.

In the run-up to the start of her latest marathon effort, Mrs Swain has been in training, building up the stamina of her voice by counting.

"I usually do it when I take the dogs for a walk and once, when I was out for hours, I counted up to half a million," she said.

Mrs Swain has also been seeing how far she could count on a single breath – the record being 50 – and getting her mouth round difficult words.

"It is going to be particularly gruelling on my stomach because you use all kinds of new muscles when doing this sort of thing," she said.

The read-in will take place in Brantham church and Mrs Swain, who is also rural dean of Samford, will either sit or stand at the lectern.

Stewards will be in attendance throughout and a book stall, including a display of old bibles, will be in operation.

Mrs Swain has been rector of Brantham and East Bergholt for 15 months. She is married with two sons, Dominic, 23, and Kelcey, 19.

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