Barnsley priest raises £1,200 for town’s homeless after zip-wiring over the Tyne

A Barnsley priest braved the heights of Newcastle last weekend, raising £1,200 for the Barnsley Deanery Homeless Fund.

Fr Darren mid-air in the middle of his zip-wire pictured next to the Baltic

Fr Darren Percival, Curate at St Mary’s in Barnsley, decided to zip-wire 160m across the River Tyne in his home-town after he discovered that his church porch was sheltering two tents and three homeless people.

Fr Darren says, “The view from the middle was awesome and something I would definitely do again, only next time with a taller and wider perspective.

“The view of where I grew up was great too!”

Through his brave efforts, Fr Darren has raised enough money to provide the homeless in Barnsley with 343 meals, 240 blankets and 1,200 hot drinks.

Fr Darren baptising a baby in his church
He says, “Within the Deanery the money will provide hot meals and drinks, especially as the weather changes, and also because I believe that the number of homeless will increase in the town. 

“It will also go towards providing tents, and bedding - some of our residents at St Mary's had one of their tents wilfully damaged last week.”

Image on the right shows Fr Darren baptising a baby in St Mary's.

Revd Stephen Race, the Area Dean of Barnsley, says, “During his curacy Fr Darren has developed an affinity with those on the edges of society and has been profoundly moved by the gentleness and humanity of the rough-sleepers in our Churchyard:  every individual has a back story to be heard and every individual needs to experience the love of God.”

Belongings of the homeless left in St Mary's Church porch

The image on the left shows the belongings of the homeless left in St Mary's Church porch.

The Barnsley Deanery Homeless Project was an initiative set up by Revd Stephen Race.

It was further encouraged by the former Bishop of Wakefield, Bishop Stephen Platten, who gave each parish £100 in 2013 in celebration of the 10th anniversary of his consecration, asking the deanery to grow on this project by combining the money given to each parish.

Fr Darren says, “‘There is one thing worth remembering,’ the instructor said before he pushed me. ‘Unlike the rest of them, you have God on your side!’.”

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