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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 September, 2004, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
'Vertigo vicar' climbs city stadium
Millennium Stadium
He abseiled from the stadium roof to the pitch below
A vicar has conquered his life-long fear of heights by climbing to the top of Wales' Millennium Stadium.

The Rev Andrew Webster, 32, minister at Coppleston Road Methodist Church, Cardiff, took part in an abseiling challenge for a children's charity.

"I did go a bit pale and yellow and my legs went very weak and wobbly," he said after the event.

Mr Webster, dubbed the 'vertigo vicar' by his congregation, took part with 14 young people from his church.

He abseiled around 90 metres from the stadium roof to the pitch below, wearing his dog collar and climbing gear.

It's really great that the Rev Webster is prepared to face his fear to raise funds for disadvantaged children
Sarah McCallum, NCH Cymru
Charity NCH Cymru said the event would have raised at least 3,000.

"The kids were fine. I felt a bit sick, but I'm glad I did it," said Mr Webster.

He said of his congregation: "They have been very supportive and very generous.

"They were all pleased and they were remembering me in their prayers."

He said he did not think what he had done would sink in until later - but he said the achievement would help him conquer his fear of heights.

"I've always had a problem with heights and high places," Mr Webster said before the abseil.

"Even when I'm doing a bit of DIY at home, I get dizzy on the top of a step ladder sometimes."

His wife Suzy, 29, and other supporters were at the event to cheer him on.

Rev Andrew Webster
Andrew Webster said he prefers to keep his feet on the ground

Mr Webster had been walking down stairs backwards in a bid to get some practice in for the event.

Around 27 people took part in the NCH Cymru Millennium Stadium Abseiling Challenge.

Sarah McCallum, NCH Cymru's fundraising co-ordinator for south Wales, said: "It's really great that the Rev Webster is prepared to face his fear to raise funds for disadvantaged children in Wales.

"We are grateful to both him and the young abseilers from the church," she added.

One of his colleagues, Rev Stephen Wigley, said on Sunday that what he was doing was "excellent".

"Good for him - mind you rather him than me," he said.

"We've been giving him a plug in our services so he can raise more sponsorship money.

"He's not very keen on heights so good for him for doing it," he added.


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