VIDEO: Vicar of Rotherham and Bishop of Sheffield's Minster abseil to launch £3m campaign

THE Vicar of Rotherham saw his church in a whole new light as he abseiled 42ft down from the belltower.
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Rev Phil Batchford was joined by the Bishop of Sheffield, Rt Rev Dr Pete Wilcox, in taking the leap of faith on Tuesday (23).

Their daring drop marked the launch of a £3 million fundraising campaign called Building Hope in the Heart of Rotherham.

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The Diocese of Sheffield said the aim of the appeal was to redevelop the centuries old church to serve the whole community in the 21st century.

The Vicar of Rotherham in full flowThe Vicar of Rotherham in full flow
The Vicar of Rotherham in full flow

And after taking the plunge, Rev Batchford said: ““The leaning back was frankly terrifying, as my stomach did catapults and other such things. However, once I got going, it was actually quite enjoyable.“It is a rather more unusual way to raise awareness but I firmly believe we can do this with the help of local people, businesses and communities.

“The Minster means different things to different people, it has a special place in many people’s hearts and so we are asking if they can support our campaign in whatever way they can and be part of our evolving story.”

The fundraising appeal will alter the internal space of the grade I-listed church to create flexible open plan community spaces and improved music facilities.

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Rev Batchford said: “We hope local people will connect with the Minster, including those who have not set foot in it for a while and those to whom the building is a new experience. Everyone is welcome to help us in the new chapter of our history.”

The bishop added: “The iconic Minster building has stood for centuries in the centre of Rotherham as a symbol of the faith, hope and love which Jesus came to bring.

“Today that spirit is transforming the lives of local people in remarkable ways, and we want to ensure it remains so for the generations to come.

“This fundraising campaign is the only way to realise the full potential of the Minster to serve the communities of Rotherham as they deserve.”

Donations are accepted via the Minster’s website at