Historic festival scales new heights with church abseil

Woodlands Festival. Youngsters paraded around Woodlands prior to the Festival starting.   Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Woodlands Festival. Youngsters paraded around Woodlands prior to the Festival starting. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Festival organisers proved the sky was the limit by introducing a charity abseil to a popular historic festival event.

The Rev Stephen Gardner was among 50 intrepid abseilers descending from All Saints Church tower as part of the Woodlands May Festival.

Rev Gardener took on the terrifying challenge to raise funds for All Saints church roof repair work.

Speaking ahead of the descent, he said: “It’s an ancient festival that has been going for most of the 100 years the village has been here, and we decided as part of that this year we would do a charity abseil off the roof of All Saints Church.

“I’m feeling very, very, very nervous! But as the vicar it’s a bit like the captain of a ship – I’ll be the first one down the tower this afternoon. Being the vicar I couldn’t really say no, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Rev Gardener was in good spirits after arriving safely at ground level with other abseilers who were raising money for a variety of good causes.

The festival, which took place on Sunday, kicked off with a parade from Woodlands Fire Station at 10am leading onto the All Saints Community Centre where events carried on throughout the day.

Rain didn’t dampen spirits at the event that also featured a whole host of stalls, bouncy castle and entertainment.

The Bishop of Doncaster Peter Burrows was on hand to open the festival officially and enjoy the day’s festivities.

The historic event dates back around 100 years but was resurrected 10 years ago to reignite community spirit in the village. The festival was first held when the local squire’s wife and the sister of the colliery owner approached the owner, Arthur Markham.

They persuaded him to let all the men in the model village have the day off, with pay. The aim was to enable them to spend time with their families for one day a year, well before holidays were common, let alone with pay. 
To find out more visit Woodlands Festival

Let them eat cake

Residents in Woodlands are planning to keep the community spirit going strong with a neighbourhood lunch event.

The event on June 1 from 4pm to 6pm will take place in the grounds of All Saints church and everyone is encouraged to bring along a cake and share.

The event is part of the Big Lunch project that aims is to get as many people as possible across the whole of the UK to have lunch with their neighbours annually on the first Sunday in June in a simple act of community, friendship and fun.

Some refreshments will also be available free of charge on the day but residents are encouraged to bring along a cake.