Meet Surrey's skydiving priest who won't let an extreme fear of heights stop her

Anna Moore stands with plants
-Credit: (Image: Anna Moore)

One Surrey vicar is bracing herself for a literal leap of faith this weekend, as she attempts a charity skydive in aid of the church. Rev Anna Moore is due to take off this Saturday, May 25 for the 12,000ft drop.

One problem for Rev Moore is that she is acrophobic. The vicar told SurreyLive: “I can't stand heights. I'm doing it along with my sister and her friend as well. I thought, you know, I'm going to turn this into a fundraiser and I've got support as well. She's been the one to instigate it.”

However, she is hoping her bravery will reap rewards for St Matthew’s Church in Redhill. Rev Moore said: “The church costs around £430 a week to run. We rely totally on donations from the congregation to support that, and that's just for the ongoing course, let alone the maintenance or roof work that needs repairing. That's why I thought, I'm going to do the jump to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, and lead by example to do things that are challenging.

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“It's been a really good chance to demonstrate to the congregation that we all have a duty to look after the church, because it serves so many people in a variety of different ways. It's a way to raise that awareness as well that the church is also a charity that people really value, but don't necessarily think of when they're giving money.”

The money raised will help support some of the community efforts of the church in Station Road. The involvement of the church in the town was one of the reasons she wanted to work there telling SurreyLive: “The one thing that really attracted me to St Matthew’s was the diversity of Redhill and the outreach of St Matthew's. It's really a ‘doing church’, a church in action, I feel really at home now.

Anna Moore in church
Anna Moore has only been at the church since November 2022 -Credit:Anna Moore

“We've got the food bank that operates three days a week, we have a Ukrainian group meeting on a Saturday, we’ve reintroduced the lunchtime music concerts and we work really closely with The Redhill West Network group. We've also started up a Pride Cafe, we really want to be truly inclusive.”

The mum of three, has been challenged like this before, again in the hands of her sister. The vicar said: “Quite a few years back, she wanted to abseil off the Queen Elizabeth hospital, she loved it whereas I was literally shaking the whole day. I just crumbled at the bottom because I was just so tense.

“But I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge – most people use the church at some point in their lives, at Christmas and Easter as well as weddings, baptisms and funerals, and the cause of helping our people is a real driving force.”

Inside St Matthew's
St Matthew's Church does lots of work -Credit:Anna Moore

She said she has revived support both from her family and congration, even if the latter weren't entirely sure she would go through with it. She said: “I think they're just looking forward to seeing the photos and things up in the air to prove I've done it. I do want to just dress up and have a plane in the background, but that wasn't going to cut it. They want proof that I was out there.”

Stonemans Funeral Directors in Redhill have sponsored the jump, which Rev Moore thinks is appropriate. She said: “I did say to the congregation it would be nice to see you next week, and if not I hope you have a good interregnum.”

She is due to take off this Saturday, May 25 for the tandem jump, dropping from 12,000ft over Headcorn, Kent, while strapped to an instructor. You can lend her support by visiting here.

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