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Priest takes on a tint for Advent

04 December 2015

NEIL BRICE

THE Rector of the most northerly parish in the UK has dyed his hair purple for Advent to raise money for urgent repairs to the church and rectory.

The dramatic change of hair colour for the Rector of St Colman’s, Yell, one of the Shetland Islands, and St Magnus’s, Lerwick, Shetland, the Revd Neil Brice (above), was at first met with astonishment by parishioners, he says. They soon supported his fund-raising project, however, and he has so far raised £1500.

The repair bill for works to the rectory in Lerwick alone is £35,000, and water is also coming into the church tower. The Shetlands are regularly battered by strong winds and rain, speeding up the erosion to the 19th-century buildings.

“The reaction at first was a bit dismayed,” Mr Brice said, “but now everybody is very warm about it — the conversations I’ve had with people about the Church have been great.”

He has used a permanent hair-dye, and expects to spend Christmas Eve trying to remove it so that he can return to his normal colour for the service on Christmas Day.

St Colman’s and St Magnus’s are part of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and, besides being the Rector, Mr Brice also works part-time as a community mental-health worker.

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