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83-year-old widow to abseil Exeter Cathedral’s 140-foot North Tower

The widow of a former Dean of Exeter is to abseil down Exeter Cathedral’s 140-foot (43 metre) North Tower, to raise funds for the ancient Devon landmark.

Octogenarian, Anne Eyre, who has led the organisation of the event herself, will be the first of 54 fundraising abseilers to descend the wall of the Norman tower as part of the cathedral’s ‘Fundraising Fun Day’ on Saturday 4 May.

A long-time stalwart supporter of the cathedral, Anne said she has been planning the challenge for several years:

“I had originally planned to complete the abseil in 2020 to celebrate my 80th birthday. Unfortunately, the pandemic and hip troubles interrupted, so here we are after four years delay, ready to take on the challenge.

“I have deep connections with the cathedral to motivate me. More importantly, I am thrilled that so many have got involved, with fantastic generosity, to support the cathedral’s extraordinarily imaginative Development Project.”

Image: Clews Architects/Marvin Chik

Anne aims to raise £25,000 from sponsors of the abseilers, to fund a window in the cathedral’s new Cloister Gallery building, which will connect the cathedral to its 13th century Chapter House and Pearson Buildings. The new structure is part of a programme of conservation and improvement works taking place as part of Exeter Cathedral’s 2020s Development Appeal Project.

Other attractions planned for 4 May include free entry into Exeter Cathedral, a display of ancient treasures from the cathedral’s library and archives, flower arranger demonstrations, football with Exeter City Community Trust, a ‘Living Cathedral Sound Walk’, medieval tile scrubbing, labyrinth walking, organ recitals, a guided tour and the Exeter Independent Market on Cathedral Green.

Exeter Cathedral’s Abseil Fundraising Fun Day will take place at Exeter Cathedral on Saturday 4 May, with Anne Eyre’s abseil descent expected to begin from approximately 9:30am. Find out more >