Vale MP Alun Cairns takes part in churches Open Doors programme
2:02pm Thursday 26th September 2013 in News
TWO vicars abseiled down a church tower as hundreds turned out to walk, cycle, jog and horse ride between 13 churches across the Vale.
Father Martyn Davies and Father Edwin Counsell, of the East Vale group of churches, were joined by Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns in abseiling off the church tower at Welsh St Donats Parish Church.
Seven parishes from the East Vale group of churches combined with three chapels for the ride and stride event organised as part of the Civic Trust for Wales’ Open Doors programme, which has seen heritage sites throughout Wales opening to the public for free in September.
Father Martyn Davies said: “It was the first time that I have ever abseiled and even though I had wanted to go up there and get it over with as quickly as possible, I did have to go through some health and safety checks first. It was very much an act of faith and apart from some grazes on my hands and knees it was exhilarating.
“The whole day went brilliantly, everybody got involved and hundreds turned out with all the various events in the churches from the bell ringing to the choir performance and the teddy bear drop being really well supported.”
After the abseil Father Martyn cycled around 13 miles between seven of the churches along with Father Edwin, while Alun Cairns led out the runners on a 13-mile route. A group of walkers also covered a 13-mile route while horse riders rode along the bridle paths between three churches. Father Edwin said: “It was a fabulous day. Lots of people were saying how they had never been inside some of the churches before so it really brought out another layer of people in the parishes – which was exactly what we were aiming to do.”
Parishioners from the East Vale group of churches in Bonvilston, St Nicholas, St George-super-Ely, St Brides-super-Ely, Peterston-super Ely, Pendoylan and Welsh St Donats had decided upon the ‘ride and stride’ theme to encourage people to take part in the Open Doors day. In addition to parishes in the East Vale group of churches, the neighbouring parishes of Llancarfon, Llantrithyd and Penmark also took part in the day. The whole route between the 13 churches was 25 miles but people just did various sections between some of the churches.
The aim was to get people to visit as many churches in the area as possible on the day and take part in various activities including a very popular teddy bear drop for children at Welsh St Donats.
Father Martyn said: “The aim was to encourage people to visit churches by making the journey to them part and parcel of the event and it proved very successful.”
The 13 churches and chapels which were open on September 14, were St Cadoc’s, Llancarfon; St Iltyd’s, Llantrithyd; St Mary’s, Penmark; Zoar Presbyterian Church; Croes-y-Parc Baptist Church;Trehill Presbyterian Church; St George’s, St George-super-Ely; St Mary’s, Bonvilston; St Donat’s,Welsh St Donats; St Cadoc’s, Pendoylan; St Peter’s, Peterston-super-Ely; St Nicholas, St Nicholas and St Brides and St Brides-super-Ely.