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Cornish seagulls swoop on charity fund-raisers

14 June 2013


IN A scene worthy of Alfred Hitchcock, angry seagulls have thwarted the attempts of fund-raisers to scale a church tower in Cornwall.

The abseil down the 80-foot tower of St Ia, the parish church of St Ives, to raise funds for Christian Aid, was called off on Thursday of last week after organisers deemed the risk of attacks by the birds too great.

"I did not go up to the roof, but the two that did got quite badly attacked," Wendy Sampson, from the Rock Centre, the company that organised the event, said on Tuesday. "We have a duty of care, and could not have customers in a nervous state being attacked by vicious seagulls."

The Priest-in-Charge, the Revd Andrew Gough, said that seagulls were a "huge problem" in St Ives, and had "a habit of swooping in and taking people's pasties from them". Nevertheless, it had been "quite a surprise to open the door to the tower, and find that seagulls were nesting there and had two eggs".

He suggested that the gulls that prevented the abseil were simply protecting their eggs, but said that he was now considering putting netting over the top of the tower, to protect it from damage caused by the birds.

The Rock Centre is preparing to assess another church tower in Mousehole, Cornwall, where it is hoped that fund-raisers will be able to abseil in safety.



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