Christian Aid supporter to abseil down church tower

David, Deborah and their pet dog Maisie

A husband-to-be has pledged to raise funds for people trapped in poverty by abseiling down the tower of the church in which he is to be married.

David Oakman, 33, plans to do the abseil before his wedding day next summer at St Mary's Church in Gillingham, Dorset, where he will wed Deborah Mansfield.

"We heard about the Christian Aid challenge when we visited the church for a wedding meeting," he said.

"Local priest Peter Greenwood was inviting his congregation to take part and I jokingly mentioned to Deborah that I might be interested, although I don't like heights at all. After the service she enrolled me anyway.

"But it's a great cause, and joining in the community abseil to raise funds for people in need around the world seems like a great idea.

"Deborah and I will be coming down from Hertfordshire on the day, along with Maisie, our 11-month-old Bichon who is the apple of our eye. Both sets of parents are coming to support, so it'll be quite an occasion."

Others joining him on the day are vicar Peter Greenwood, the new Gillingham Methodist Minister Paul Arnold, and the Bishop of Sherborne, Graham Kings. The abseil event will be opened from the top of the church tower in High Street, Gillingham, by the town mayor Councillor Val Pothecary.

Reverend Greenwood said, "Christian Aid got in contact and asked if they could organise an abseil down St Mary's church tower. Of course we said 'yes'! Supporting Christian Aid, which works in partnership with other organisations in many countries, means we can show God's love around the world in practical ways."