A DAREDEVIL vicar has cast aside his fear of heights by taking a 30-foot plunge from the top of his church bell tower to raise cash for two issues close to his heart.

Reverend Ian Robinson, vicar at St Gregory’s Church in Bedale, said he had been shaking in the days leading up to his challenge, which on Saturday saw him abseil from the top of the ringing chamber – but unlike a normal abseil descent it was a drop into free air.

The stunt raised cash for a fund to replace the church roof and for Prostate Cancer UK, which Rev Robinson has himself suffered from.

He said: “I had a mad moment when I decided to take this on – but I’m glad I did it and it went really well.

“I have actually done the drop before for a bit of fun to be an angel as part of a previous year’s Christmas festival.

“Unlike that drop though I had to just step out into the void which was scary, I had to put my trust in the crew that set up the rigging but I absolutely did trust them.

“As our roof repair fund needs a bit of a boost I thought it would be a good way to raise some funds and awareness.”

Rev Robinson, whose patch includes Thornton Watlass and Leeming, said his personal fundraising had reached around £1,000 between online and personal donations, and would be split between the roof repairs and the cancer charity.

He said: “I was diagnosed in late 2012 with prostate cancer and in mid 2013 I had operations to remove the cancer.

“I’m now clear from cancer but there are side-effects from surgery that are challenging and are difficult to talk about.

“But it’s important to have the conversation because dealing with the side-effects, which include being incontinent, which you can get over, is far better than the alternative. The operation saved my life.”

Rev Robinson said he was open to more adrenalin-filled fundraising ideas and had already discussed having a go on a zip wire.

St Gregory’s in Bedale has recently received £96,600 from the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund, which will go a long way to re-roofing the whole of the church which will cost £330,000.

Rev Robinson said the church is committed to getting the work done, as well as employing a families’ worker who will go into the community to help involve parents and children in get involved in local activities.

To donate to Rev Robinson visit campaign.justgiving.com/charity/bedalecc/bigdrop, and watch the drop at the thenorthernecho.co.uk