THRILL-seekers are being given the opportunity to abseil from an iconic Hexham building as part of a £1m fund-raising mission.

Up to 25 members of the public are being invited to take a leap of faith from Hexham Abbey to help raise funds to replace the roof.

And those who take up the challenge will be in good company.

For the Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Rev. Christine Hardman, the Rector of Hexham, Canon Dagmar Winter, the Abbey’s associate priest, Matthew Hunter and Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman have already signed up.

Canon Winter said: “I did a lot of climbing when I was younger, but the abseiling was always the bit I enjoyed the least!”

The event, on June 18, is being led by experienced mountaineering instructor Cliff Lowther, of North-East business Roxcool and will see participants climb the 13th century Night Stair before ascending a narrow staircase which leads to the dizzy heights of the Abbey roof.

Supporters will also be able to gather in the Abbey cloister to watch the descent.

“It really was the idea of the Northumberland Domestic Abuse Service, which came to us and asked if it could do an abseil to fund raise,” said Canon Winter.

“We thought it was a wonderful idea and were happy to support it and decided to share the event.”

Practitioner with NDAS, Maggie Martin, said any money the service raises will help fund an outdoor activities camp for youngsters involved in a new children and young people’s service due to be launched on April 15.

Canon Winter said: “A recent roof inspection at the Abbey found there are parts in need of fairly urgent attention and other parts in need of attention in the near future.

“We don’t have precise figures yet but the ball park figure for the whole roof is in the region of £1m.”

Among those who have already signed up to take the plunge and fund raise for the Abbey are members of the congregation Judi Cornforth and June Olliver.

“I helped organise something like this a few years ago, but it was abseiling off the Tyne Bridge, in Newcastle,” said June, who is involved with the Hexham branch of the Mothers’ Union.

“Going over the edge is the worst bit, but once you’re off, it’s amazing.

“Last time I ran around to do it again.”

Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman said: “Bring it on! I can’t wait to have the chance to abseil in support of two wonderful causes and I would urge the public to get behind the event.”

A non-refundable £25 donation per person is required to register. Participants need to be at least 14 years old and under 18s will need consent from a parent or guardian.

Those taking part are being urged to use social media to record their fund-raising journey with the Twitter handle @HexhamAbbey and #Hexhamabseil

For more information contact Sally McRobie in the parish office on (01434) 602031 or email