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Good choices

10 October 2014

FOR 16 years, Darren Mangold (above), a member of the congregation at St Mary's, Westwood, in Southwell & Nottingham diocese, has been working for HM Prison Service as an instructional officer. At the moment he runs a multi-media workshop, which includes the making of radio programmes for prisoners, by prisoners.

"A particular frustration for me and other staff", he says, "is what we call 'the revolving-door syndrome': seeing the same faces back in prison time and time again." He is a keen supporter of the Message Trust, a charity that, he says, helps young offenders in prison "to make good choices; and then in a practical way, on release, they are mentored and given the opportunity to learn new employment skills, and make life choices that significantly reduce their risk of reoffending".

So, to raise more money for the Message Trust, he is now about to go and climb Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, at 19,341 feet the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. He is paying for his own fares and accommodation, so that any donations go straight to the Trust. "Apparently, only 41 per cent of people who attempt to climb this mountain actually make it to the top," he says, "and I'm told that more people die trying to do this than those who climb Everest."

His eldest daughter, Lauren, works for the Trust, and she and her husband, Pete, are travelling to Tanzania with Mr Mangold, and are helping with the fund-raising. "Between us, we have been doing a variety of events," she says, "including art auctions, photoshoots, raffles, appeals, bucket-shaking, cinema evenings, and sponsored soaking of the Vicar of St Mary's, the Revd Fiona Shouler, to name a few.

"I have to personally raise £2750, and the total so far is around £1200; so I'm still a long way off."

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