high hopes

Father Kevin Crinks is organising a charity sleep over in Leigh Parish church in aid of East African drought victims
Father Kevin Crinks is organising a charity sleep over in Leigh Parish church in aid of East African drought victims

A KIND-HEARTED priest and his dog are preparing for a spooky stay in an historic church tower in aid of Africa’s drought victims.

Father Kevin Crinks and his 11-year-old Labrador Billy will scale the bell tower at St Mary’s Church, Leigh, for a sleepover to raise funds for the relief effort in East Africa, after the region was hit with its most severe drought in 60 years.

Fr Crinks, 48, said: “No one can fail to have been moved by the plight of refugees in East Africa, who have been affected by the recent drought and famine.

“I remember when Band Aid came out in the mid 1980s and everyone felt so helpless.

“It is hoped that in some small way this event will raise funds and awareness of the problems facing the aid agencies in Africa at this time.

“We’ll be staying overnight in the place where bells have been rung since the time of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, though hopefully there won’t be any noise during the night of the sleepover.

“The church will be open in the evening for people to give donations, and I’ll make sure that the kettle is on.

“Then we’ll be offering breakfast the next morning in return for a small sum.

“All the money will go to the appeal in East Africa.

“The oldest part of the church dates back to the 16th century. There are stones in the bell tower from the time of Henry VIII.

“I don’t know about any ghosts but I hope I’m not visited by anyone in the wee small hours.” said Fr Crinks.

The drought has left millions of people desperately short of food.

The British public has donated £9m to an appeal launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee.

The drought has wiped out cattle and crops, and left at least 10 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and the newly-formed Republic of South Sudan in desperate need of food, water and emergency healthcare.

Fr Crinks will be staying overnight at St Mary’s Church, in St Mary’s Way, Leigh, on Friday, July 22.

The church will be open from 7pm to 10pm for any donations before reopening for breakfast at 8am on Saturday, July 23, to raise further funds.

To offer any donations, contact Fr Crinks on 01942 882883.