Leap of faith as fundraisers abseil down Wakefield Cathedral

Newspaper: Wakefield Express.'Story: Seventy one year old Marta Smith will be abseiling down the clock tower of Wakefield cathedral to raise money towards Project 2015 - which aims to renovate the east end and crypt area of the cathedral.'Marta is pictured with David Bellamy - 299 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers, Terry Rigg - cathedral fundraising executive and Elizabeth Kay - Wakefield council's retail manager.'Photo date: 24/09/15'Picture Ref: AB228a0915
Newspaper: Wakefield Express.'Story: Seventy one year old Marta Smith will be abseiling down the clock tower of Wakefield cathedral to raise money towards Project 2015 - which aims to renovate the east end and crypt area of the cathedral.'Marta is pictured with David Bellamy - 299 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers, Terry Rigg - cathedral fundraising executive and Elizabeth Kay - Wakefield council's retail manager.'Photo date: 24/09/15'Picture Ref: AB228a0915

A daredevil pensioner will descend down Wakefield Cathedral today in a daring fundraising event.

Marta Smith, 71, will abseil down the cathedral to raise money for Project 2015, which aims to renew the east end of the building.

Around 24 people will take the 105ft plunge including The Ridings Shopping Centre marketing manager Sara Hassan.

Wakefield Council’s retail and night time economy lead officer Elizabeth Kay and staff from Marks & Spencers will also take part in the fundraiser.

Mrs Smith, a member of the cathedral’s congregation, said: “The cathedral is the most important building in the city centre.

“It is a beautiful building and important to the people of Wakefield. I want to do my part in helping to clean up the east end.”

The event is raising money for the £2.5m Project 2015, following on from last year’s £3m refurbishment of the nave.

Cathedral chiefs have secured a £1.8m grant towards the cost of the project.

And they have been holding fundraisers and looking for donations towards the work, which is expected to be finished by next Easter.

Project 2015 will involve new lighting, underfloor heating and a renewed St Mark’s Chapel. There will also be a dedicated exhibition space.

Construction work started on the multi-million project in June this year.

Italian-born Mrs Smith, who has lived in the city for 30 years, has set herself a target to raise £1,500 towards the project.

She said: “I have never done anything like this before but I have always looked at other doing it and thought why not?

“It is exciting and scary at the same time but it is all for the cathedral, which is important for everyone in the city.”

Terry Rigg, the cathedral’s community fundraiser, said people who have taken part in abseils down the cathedral in the past have really enjoyed it.

He said: “People always come along and watch. It creates a great atmosphere. People who have done it said it was a great experience and it gives them a fantastic view of the city. Everyone at the cathedral really appreciates the fundraising to help renew the east end of the building.”

The abseil has been organised by Wakefield’s 299 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers.

To donate search for Marta Smith on www.virginmoneygiving.com.