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06 June 2014


CLIMB the tower of Durham Cathedral 134 times, and you have climbed the equivalent of the highest mountain in the world: Mount Everest.

A group of 30 climbers, including families with primary-age children; students from St John's College, Durham; ordinands from Cranmer Hall; and a few older members of the Edith Jackson Trust all took it on as a relay challenge in order to raise money for the Episcopal Church in Sudan.

In the space of three hours, between the 30 of them, the tower was climbed more than 200 times, which equalled more than one and a half times the height of the mountain. One family, Mr and Mrs Johnson and their three children, between them climbed it 35 times, and the fittest students climbed up and down those turret steps 12 times each.

At the top of the tower, each breathless climber was given a gold star, and, at the bottom, each gold star was added to a picture of Everest, and soon the stars started to increase. The Durham branch of Sainsbury's sponsored the climb with bottles of water and high-energy bars, and most of the climbers said: "Let's do it again next year."

The Vicar of St Giles', Durham, Dr Alan Bartlett (above), chairman of the Trust, says: "As well as raising thousands of pounds for the Trust, the group had a wonderful evening - not least enjoying the stunning views over Durham as the sun set.

"There was a deep sense of camaraderie as each climber was clapped up to the tower. It made the sweat, breathlessness, and vertigo all worth it. The money will pay for toilets in the school in Rokon, South Sudan."

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