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Skydiving curate hopes for skyhigh funds for church roof at All Saints in Woodchurch

Rev Paul White is doing a skydive to raise funds for the church roof. All Saints Church, Woodchurch.
Rev Paul White is doing a skydive to raise funds for the church roof. All Saints Church, Woodchurch.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No - it’s a man of God!

The Rev Paul White, who leads All Saints Church in Woodchurch, will be feeling especially close to the Almighty when he jumps out of a plane to raise funds for the church roof.

The versatile curate chose to do his skydive after lead thieves stripped the roof, leaving it needing repairs worth £65,000 - far beyond the £5,000 covered by insurance.

The biggest theft happened days before Remembrance Sunday, when mourners had to cross a “wall of water” to pay their respects to The Fallen.

In all, the church suffered six thefts in as many months last year and will now have to replace the roof with cheaper aluminium sheeting.

But things are looking up. Woodchurch Primary School has got involved with the feat and Rev White, 42, says the whole congregation is putting the wind in his sails.

“We were doing some brainstorming and I thought this would raise some interest,” he said.

“A lot of people would pay good money to see a clergyman jump out of a plane.

“I’ve done some scuba diving but never anything as big as a parachute jump. But if it scared me I would do something else.

“People cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End but that takes a long time. For me, this is quick and easy.”

Even so, the father-of-two said the idea had left his wife Vivienne “horrified”.

“The whole family thinks I’m slightly mad,” he admitted.

The congregation is also putting on some less unusual events, including staging a choral version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on July 8 to 9.

More traditional events will also include bake sales and coffee mornings.

“I’m still young and able enough to do it,” added the curate. “I thought something out of the ordinary would help our cause.”

He will leap out of a plane above Headcorn Aerodrome on Saturday, May 28.

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