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On the ropes in aid of eco-heating

21 October 2010

by Ed Beavan

TWO clerics hauled a 36-foot canal barge more than 13 miles for charity earlier this month, and raised about £2000 for their church eco-heating appeal “Warm and Bright”.

The Rector of Burbage, Canon David Jennings, and the Associate Vicar, the Revd Dr Bob Stephen, describe themselves as “two not very fit priests”, but they completed the “barge pull” along the Ashby Canal in about six hours.

They were raising funds for a new underfloor heat-recovery system for St Catherine’s, Burbage, which already has eco-church status. The fund has now reached about £70,000; a total of £100,000 is required.

Canon Jennings and Dr Stephen began the barge pull at Shacker­stone, and finished at the Lime Kilns Inn, in Burbage. Four others helped them by pulling on the ropes, which were old bell ropes tied together. Two other team members were on the barge, steering. Canon Jennings said that it was a boiling hot day for the event, but the most difficult thing was negotiating parked barges on the canal.

“The local undertakers sponsored us and turned up at the beginning, which was quite alarming as they may have thought their services would be needed. It was hard work and really heavy; the hardest part was the last half-mile.

“Our insurers covered us for up to £5 million for the event, so if one of us had died, they could have bought a new church.”

Previously, the clerics have taken part in a 180-mile bike ride across the Lake District, and jumped off the church tower, to raise money for the eco-fund.

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