Turning Tides: Parachuting priests take to the sky for West Sussex homelessness charity

Two priests are among a group of Turning Tides supporters ready to jump out of a plane to help homeless people in West Sussex.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 3:47 pm

More than 20 people are due to take to the sky on Saturday, August 28, to support the Worthing-based charity.

Father Mark Lyon from St Andrew’s Church in Tarring and Father Ben Eadon, a former Worthing vicar who is now based at St Bartholomew’s Church in Brighton, are taking the leap because they feel deeply connected with the work of Turning Tides and they have already raised around £1,000.

Father Ben said: “I have supported Turning Tides over many years, stemming from my time as a vicar of St Symphorian’s Church in Durrington.

Father Ben Eadon planned the skydive as his swan song as he moved away from Worthing and stepped down as Turning Tides trustee

“I was a trustee for almost five years and took part in the Winter SleepOut a few years ago. Prior to my move to St Bartholomew’s Church, the skydive was going to be my swan song as I moved away from Worthing and stepped down as trustee.

“Along with Father Mark, who has always supported the charity too, it was a great way to keep the link alive between church and charity – we set up a joint fundraising page under the name Parachuting Priests.

“Whilst working with the charity, I had an informal chaplaincy role at St Clare’s Community Hub, once a fortnight, where I would support frontline workers and volunteers to meet the needs of clients.

“It gave me real insight into how Turning Tides works – for me, what resonated the most was recognising the dignity of every individual. That’s what is so great about Turning Tides, no one gets put in a box, every single client is supported with their individual needs paramount.”

Father Mark Lyon at St Andrew's Church in Tarring

Father Ben cannot wait to take the leap and said anything people can do to support charity fundraising is really crucial now, during the pandemic.

He added: “I am looking forward to it. Slightly worried about the moment the plane door opens but I am hoping that once the parachute opens I will love it. It’s certainly going to be a first for me.”

The Turning Tides Homelessness Skydive 2021 is due to take place in Wiltshire on August 28. Visit www.turning-tides.org.uk/event/august-skydive-2021 for more information about taking part and making a donation.