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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 July, 2003, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Bishop makes a heavenly descent
Bishop of Hereford
The Bishop will descend down the side of the tower
A bishop is to be lowered down the side of his cathedral's tower strapped in a stretcher during a safety exercise.

The Bishop of Hereford, John Oliver, will be strapped into a stretcher and lowered 140ft down the side of the city's cathedral tower on Thursday.

The bishop volunteered after officers from Hereford and Worcester Fire Service realised that if a visitor collapsed in the tower they would not be able to rescue them using the tower's narrow winding staircase.

The Fire Service wanted to practice lowering someone down the outside of the tower using ropes and a stretcher and the intrepid bishop volunteered to be their guinea pig.

The Cathedral tower was built between 1320 and 1340 and is open to the public in the summer months.

It offers visitors views across the River Wye and the city towards the Welsh border.

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