Shrewsbury Chronicle 24/03/2011
A charity abseil down the tower of an historic church was called off at the eleventh hour – to help safeguard protected birds of prey.
The Churches Conservation Trust had organised for the abseil to take place 26/27 March weekend at St Mary’s Church in the town centre, but officials were forced to postpone after being alerted to a pair of peregrine falcons which have been roosting and feeding on the tower.
Claire Coles, community fundraising officer at the trust, said they had been alerted to the birds’ presence by the Shropshire Peregrine Group.
“Whilst we love the historic tower of St Mary’s, unfortunately for us so do a pair of peregrine falcons who have been roosting and feeding on the tower,” she said. “This means that they may choose to nest there and have chicks.”
She added that the abseil has been postponed until July 16 – with 70 people signed up so far.
John Turner, co-ordinator of the Shropshire Peregrine Group, said he had been keeping watch over the peregrine falcons, the fastest bird in the world, which have also taken a liking to nearby St Alkmund’s Church tower. “We heard about the abseil which was due to take place at the weekend and this would have disturbed the birds at a critical time of their breeding cycle,” he said.
The group and Shropshire Wildlife Trust have since been successful in obtaining permission from church authorities to install a custom made nest box on the roof of St Alkmund’s church which it is hoped the birds will use.
Registration for the abseil is £10 and people need to raise a minimum of £85 in sponsorship.
To get involved:
Phone 07850 003751