WHEN it came to raising funds for improvements to her church, the Revd Joanne Musson, looked heavenward to find the cash.
This week, she was quite literally out on a wing and a prayer, bolted on to the top wing of an elderly biplane, her eyes firmly set on a £10,000 sponsorship target.
Mrs Musson — who admits to getting airsick on ordinary flights, and cannot abide rollercoasters — braved a ten-minute open-air flight, 500 feet above the countryside.
After touching safely back down, on Wednesday afternoon, she said: “It was amazing. I did get a bit cold, but it was just stunning. . . However, there’s no way I would do it again. The pilot was really good and took it very gently, but when he banked to turn, it was a bit scary.
“About 30 people came from my church and family to watch, and they all cheered and waved as I flew past — and I actually managed to wave back.”
She was equipped with goggles and ear protectors, but had worried about breathing with a 100mph wind in her face. In the end, however, it went smoothly.
Wing-walking was the most terrifying thing that she had ever attempted, she said, “but compared with filling out grant application forms, it’s a much quicker way to raise funds”.
Most of the money will go towards a partial reordering at St John Baptist’s, in the village of Claines, near Worcester, one of the two churches in the area where she is Priest-in-Charge. St George’s, Worcester, is the other.
Ten per cent will go to the cancer charity Bloodwise, out of respect for her friend and training incumbent, the Revd Maureen Dew, who is fighting non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and who came up with the wing-walking idea.
ADRIAN MUSSONMrs Musson climbs atop
Mrs Musson explained: “The church is desperate for a kitchen and toilet, and so I had decided to do something really far out of my comfort zone to raise funds: I would abseil down the tower. When I told Maureen I was going to do this really brave thing, she just took one look at me and said: ‘Jo, that is really boring. You can’t do that: everybody does it. You must do a wing-walk.’
“For the next two months, I kept thinking about whether I could do it, but I thought, ‘No, I’d just die’. . . But the idea wouldn’t go away.
Mrs Musson paid the £400 fee for the flight, and, shortly before take-off, her sponsorship stood at £6000. She hopes to top £10,000, which, with money already raised, will allow St John’s to start phase one on a project estimated to cost £120,000.
Donations can be made through her Just Giving web page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rev-jo.