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Reverend to the rescue

07 August 2007

by Margaret Duggan

SIX MAIDENS in distress were locked in the church tower all night in aid of a local breast-cancer charity. Rapunzel (aka the Assistant Curate, the Revd Juliet Stephenson, above, left) was among them. It was the patronal weekend of St Swithun’s, East Retford, Southwell & Nottingham diocese, and Ms Stephenson had with her a consultant breast surgeon, a retired practice nurse, a breast-cancer survivor, and two teenage girl Scouts.

  They were ceremonially locked in the tower on Friday night. The pouring rain drove three of them to sleep in the bell chamber, but Ms Stephenson and the two Scouts braved the rain in a tent on the roof. Then the sun shone, and Rapunzel, with her five handmaidens in pink wigs, cried for help, attracting the villagers to join the celebrations for St Swithun’s Day with all the traditional stalls, games, and refreshments of a church fair.

  Plaintive screams got louder, until the Prince arrived on a motorbike (in the form of Canon Tony Walker, inset photo) to rescue Rapunzel, and bring her and her attendants down in time for a barbecue lunch, while a quarter peal was rung in rejoicing.

It all helped people to forget the floods in the area (some are still living in temporary accommodation), and raised £3000 to share between the church and the breast-cancer charity.

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