Daredevil Wigan priest swaps pulpit for cathedral's roof in thrilling abseil

A priest pulled on a helmet and safety gear – alongside her dog collar – as she took on a daring fund-raising challenge.

The Reverend Sue Thomas abseiled from the top of Liverpool’s colossal Anglican Cathedral, dropping 150ft from the roof and free hanging from above the great West Door.

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She had hoped to wear her robes, but when this was not possible, she decided to wear all black clothes and her dog collar as she descended.

The Reverend Sue Thomas

It was the first time Mrs Thomas, 61, had returned to the Anglican cathedral since being ordained as a priest there four weeks earlier.

And she had a very good reason for taking on the challenge, as she was fund-raising for the food pantry at St Thomas’ Church in Ashton, which uses edible food that was going to be thrown away.

Mrs Thomas, a curate in the Wigan South parish, said: “I was raising funds for a new pantry to be built and a community kitchen, so we can serve pay-as-you-feel meals.

“We have a pantry in Ashton and at the moment it’s in the church hall, but we want a purpose-built pantry.

The Reverend Sue Thomas during the abseil

"We will knock a bit of the hall down and extend it, so it will have a concrete hall and hopefully get a bit cooler. We want something that’s more fit for purpose. Behind it we want an industrial kitchen which will be a training kitchen as well, so when we have a surplus of food, we will teach people to cook it.”

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Despite descending such a large building, the mother-of-six said she was not nervous, but simply excited about the abseil.

She said: “I loved the idea of doing an abseil. I have wanted to do it for a long time so I was delighted.

"It was amazing. Just being able to turn around and see the city – it was a clear day – and friends were down at the bottom and my family, it was really lovely.”

The Reverend Sue Thomas abseils down Liverpool Cathedral
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Mrs Thomas has raised around £1,000 for the pantry.

To find out more about the pantry or make a donation to the building project, go to www.stthomasstluke.org.uk/ourtown/foodpantry