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Priests' 10,000ft leap of faith
IS it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a pair of priests who are taking to the skies to help raise money for a major redevelopment at an Oxford church.
Father Daniel Seward and Brother Oliver Craddock have volunteered to jump out of a plane to raise money for the Oxford Oratory’s major fundraising campaign.
It will be the first parachute jump for both the priests, who live at the Roman Catholic church community in Woodstock Road.
Fr Daniel, 39, admitted he had essentially been volunteered for the task by his parishioners.
He said: “I foolishly said to our over-60s group that it was something I had always had an ambition to do.
“Before I knew it, they had galvanised themselves to get sponsorship for it to happen.”
After Fr Daniel was talked into doing the jump, Br Oliver, 24, admitted he was also keen to have a go.
The tandem parachute jump is scheduled for 9am on Friday, September 26, at Brackley, Northamptonshire, and the pair will receive training on the day.
Fr Daniel said he would probably not be wearing his priestly garb, but would select something a little more practical for the jump which will see the two priests fall at up to 120mph from an altitude of over 10,000ft.
He said: “Maybe it’s because I’m not very clever,but I’m quite gung ho about it.
“It doesn’t require any skill, you just have to jump as far as you can see, and after all, nobody will be trying to shoot us down, it’s not like people parachuting out of planes in the Second World War.”
Brother Oliver said: “It is something I have always wanted to do and this seemed like a good reason to do it.
“I’m getting slightly more nervous as the days go by – I saw someone doing it on television last week and it made me feel a bit sick.”
He said the planned jump had caused some controversy in the parish.
He said: “Some people are a little shocked we are risking our lives in this way, but others are very glad we are willing to do what is needed to raise the money for our building.”
A small audience of parishioners is expected to gather on the ground, cheering them on, which Fr Daniel said should make them even more determined to take the step.
It is not Fr Daniel’s first experience with heights.The self-confessed daredevil did an impromptu bungee jump from a bridge over a gorge in South Africa in 1998, when he was training for the priesthood.
The pair have already raised more than £3,000 and are hoping to collect at least £10,000 for the multi-million-pound fundraising campaign.
A new building featuring an accommodation block, parish office, kitchen, library and redecorated hall has recently been completed, and the Oratory has a further £600,000 to raise to pay for the development.
- To sponsor the pair, visit justgiving.com/Oratory-Jump
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