Later this month Revd. Heather Atkinson will be doing the famous Bethesda Zip-Wire challenge!
Revd. Atkinson will be straying well outside her comfort zone in a bid to save the nineteenth-century wall paintings of angels, and other stunning murals, in St James’ New Brighton. She will be taking the Zip-Wire challenge above Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda, North Wales. Along with three other members of her congregation, one being in her 80s.
Revd. Heather will be flying high to help raise the £300,000 needed to conserve the works of art which have been damaged by chronic dampness in the roof and walls of the Grade ll listed church over many years, plus re- pointing of the chancel and new lighting will be required. Last year the dampness was cured through an extensive restoration project, largely funded by a £250,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The walls are now drying out, which will enable work on saving the angels to begin.
The Bethesda Zip-Wire is the longest in Europe (a mile long) and the fastest in the world. The Vicar says she might reach a speed of over 100 mph! It is 500 feet above the ground.
The wall paintings, which were created by the eminent Victorian church artist Alfred Hemming, are the most stunning part of St James’ church and can be seen in detail by taking the “virtual tour” of the building on the church’s website. Their conservation will be Phase 3 of a multi-phase restoration programme which began in 2015 with the rebuilding of the church’s iconic spire.
Reverend Heather said: “The murals are what makes our church building unique. They are of stunning quality and we must do everything we can to stop them deteriorating beyond repair.
“Our aim is that the Zip-Wire challenge will help raise significant funds towards this.
“What more appropriate way to save our angels than by flying for a mile at five hundred feet up?!”
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