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07 September 2012

SHE loved the tandem skydive, the Revd Rosie Bunn writes from Burgh Castle, in Norwich diocese, and she hopes that it has added a healthy £1000 to the funds for repairing her church of St Peter and St Paul; but it is only a drop in the ocean of the £500,000 that they need to raise.

She knew before she arrived in the parish that the church building, one of the ancient round-tower churches in Nor­folk, was in a bad way; for her husband is a building surveyor, and left her with no illusions. But when the quinquen­nial inspection was carried out last spring, "it felt more like I'd be jumping out of a plane without a parachute rather than the planned tandem sky­dive."

The roof of the church and vestry needed serious attention. "There was dry rot, wet rot, subsidence, nail sickness. . . You name it, the building seemed to have it." The church is next to Burgh Castle, a Roman fort man­aged by English Heritage, where the seventh-century Irish monk St Fursey made his base. He took the gospel to much of East Anglia, before moving on to France.

It gets many summer visitors, and during Open Churches Week some 450 were welcomed. But something had to be done about the roof; and Mrs Bunn's skydive was originally arranged for late June, but the wind was too strong. Fitting it in between weddings and Sunday services was not easy; so it did not take place until a couple of weeks ago.

The money raised is to be divided between Mrs Bunn's two churches, St Peter and St Paul, and All Saints', Belton. But it is the former that is in really urgent need, and the sky- dive is just a start.

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