A church bellringer is preparing to spend a whole week living in a cramped belfry to highlight the loneliness suffered by many elderly people.
John Adcock (64), who is ringing master at St Remigius Church at Long Clawson, will eat and sleep in a space which is just 12ft square, leaving only to use the toilet in the main building.
He hopes to raise around £2,000 for Age UK Leicester Shire and Rutland which supports pensioners who spend long periods alone - if he can survive the seven days in isolation in the bell tower which is accessed only by a precarious 30ft steel ladder.
“The climb up the ladder isn’t for the faint-hearted and because of the difficulties of access there are not many people who are prepared to visit the bell tower,” said John, who lives in the village.
“So I shall spend a week largely, if not completely, on my own, in the same way that many elderly people spend a great deal of their time in isolation.”
The bells will not toll while John is staying in the bell tower as they will be too noisy when he is sleeping below them. Electricity will only be available during the day and he plans to take a radio and his mobile phone with him in case of emergencies.
His daughter Jackie Parlby, who lives in Melton, will bring him two meals a day but she will be the only person he sees from the moment he goes into the belfry, at noon on June 12, until the end of the challenge at the same time on June 19.
John, a former manager of Melton’s Barclays bank branch, added: “I’ve decided to do this because it is something completely different. It’s going to be a real test of staying power but I’m determined to finish it because it is for a very good cause.”
Mr Adcock and four bellringing colleagues at the church carried out a spring clean of the belfry on Sunday in preparation for the charity effort - they carried out minor repairs and cleaned out dust and birds’ nests which had accumulated over many years. The layout of the bell tower dates back to 1893, when there was a complete re-ordering of the 14th century church.