A vicar from Totton near the New Forest in Hampshire will this month climb Mount Everest in order to raise funds for the renovation of his parish church.
Team Rector Rev Dr Chris Steed, from Totton in the Diocese of Winchester, will trek two thirds of the way up the tallest mountain in the world, to an altitude of 6000 metres.
He is making the expedition in order to raise funds for the regeneration of St Winfrid’s Church, Totton, supporting a project which will transform it into an innovative community hub for the wider community.
Rev Dr Chris Steed is not an experienced mountaineer but four years ago climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa. Speaking ahead of his trek, Chris said: “Climbing Everest will be one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced and I know it’s going to be incredibly tough, but it’s for a great cause. The transformation of St Winfrid’s will have a huge positive impact on the community. The church will become not just a place of worship, but also a community hub that serves the needs of everyone in the area.”
The parish hopes to raise £2.5 million to fund a regeneration project, which will enable the church to grow its role at the heart of the community.
St Winfrid’s already runs a number of services for the local community, including a preschool, and offers support for those struggling with debt, counselling, domestic violence awareness and cancer support. The planned works will create better facilities for the preschool in a more suitable part of the premises. The existing activities will be supported by a community café.
The proposals to transform the church will also capitalise on its excellent acoustics by creating a regular concert and conference venue. In association with this there will be a creative music space, which will include tuition and recording studios, and will also offer apprenticeships to help those wanting to gain experience of the music industry. Smaller spaces of various sizes will also be built which community, support and statutory groups will be able to use.
St Winfrid’s Church, Totton is a 2000m2 space, completed in 1937 by the well-known architect Nugent Cachemaille-Day, known for his ‘revolutionary’ church design. One of the few examples of Cachemaille-Day’s work in the south of England, the church is characterised by large sweeping arches, in striking contrast to the angular lines of its exterior. The church also houses a historic organ built around 1872 by leading Victorian era organ builder Henry Willis, nicknamed “Father Willis” due to his influential contribution to organs.
To support Rev Chris as he climbs Everest, and to help fund the transformation of the church, donate here: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/rectorwalkseverest or email: email@example.com