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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 July 2006, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Back to earth for rooftop priest
Father Malcolm Hunter on a church roof
Father Hunter is hoping to raise 100,000
A priest has returned to the ground after 10 days and nights on a church roof to raise money for its repair.

Father Malcolm Hunter went straight to the Sunday service at St Michael's Church in Camden, north London after climbing down from his perch.

The church is also used as a shelter for homeless people and needs to raise 100,000 by Christmas.

The vicar said he was looking forward to seeing his family but felt sorry for all those with no home to go to.

'Wet and windy'

Father Malcolm got little sleep on the roof and said he was "absolutely shattered" by the time he got down.

"I'm wet, I'm cold - it's been a windy and wet night," he said.

"It's going to be tremendous seeing my wife and family and I'm really looking forward to having a bath and just being normal again."

But he said he felt guilty about the many homeless people, both in Camden and worldwide, who were isolated and marginalised.

"It's all very well for me to go home, a lot of people have no homes to go to," he said.

St Michael's, a Church of England church, needs to raise 1m for restoration work - if Father Malcolm can raise 100,000 by Christmas, the Heritage Lottery Fund has pledged 350,000.

It's just amazing, seeing human contact - not necessarily through the spoken word, just through a wave or a smile - it keeps you going
Father Malcolm

He said he had no idea how much had been raised, but knew they were still short of the 100,000.

One woman, who had been raising money on the streets throughout Father Malcolm's rooftop stay, told BBC London she thought about half had been raised.

The priest, who has a fear of heights, has had only a radio, mobile phone, waterproofs and toothbrush for company and has relied on passers-by for food and water.

He said his most difficult moment came when a homeless man sent him up a package - which turned out to be a tuna sandwich.

"I thought to myself: 'How can I possibly eat this man's lunch?', but I knew he was waiting down there for me to receive his gift," Father Malcolm said.

But he said the high points had been the tremendous support from people at ground level, which had helped him cope with the isolation of being on the roof.

"It's just amazing, seeing human contact - not necessarily through the spoken word, just through a wave or a smile - it keeps you going," he said.


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