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Now That's Taking Marriage Vows Seriously!

by Gerry Lynch last modified 10 Oct, 2013 12:15 PM

Groom-to-be enlisted by wife to go over the edge in Gillingham abseil for Christian Aid - as will Bishop Graham!

A husband-to-be will make an unusual show of commitment to his bride by abseiling down the tower of St Mary’s Church, Gillingham, on Friday 25 October.

33 year old David Oakman has been roped in to the abseil by his bride Deborah Mansfield. Although the pair live in Hertfordshire, they plan to wed at St Mary’s next summer - but first David has pledged to tie a different sort of knot!

“We heard about the challenge when we visited the church for a wedding meeting,” says David. “Local priest Peter Greenwood was inviting his congregation to take part, and I jokingly mentioned to Deborah that I might be interested, although I don’t really like heights at all. After the service she enrolled me anyway!”

“But it’s a great cause, and joining in the community abseil to raise funds for people in need around the world seems like a great idea.”

“Deborah and I will be coming down from Hertfordshire on the day, along with Maisie, our 11-month-old Bichon who is the apple of our eye. Both sets of parents are coming to support, so it’ll be quite an occasion”.

Other people joining in the fun include Peter Greenwood, the new Gillingham Methodist Minister Paul Arnold and the Bishop of Sherborne, Graham Kings. Bishop Graham is set to make his descent between 5 and 6 pm.

Reverend Peter Greenwood said, “Christian Aid got in contact and asked if they could organise an abseil down St Mary’s church tower. Of course we said ‘yes’! Supporting Christian Aid, which works in partnership with other organisations in many countries, means we can show God's love around the world in practical ways.”

The Mayor of Gillingham, Councillor Val Pothecary, will officially open the abseil event from the top of the church tower in High Street, Gillingham. The event will run from noon until 6pm and is open to everyone aged 14 and over. For more information call Penny on 023 80706969 or visit to register.

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