Keynsham vicar starts trip to Jerusalem on a space hopper
A KEYNSHAM vicar is setting off on a 3,000-mile trip to a church with the same name as his own – in Jerusalem.
Simon Howell has taken up the challenge to travel overland from St John the Baptist Church in the town to the church of the same name in Israel within six days.
Leaving on Saturday, he plans to use as many modes of transport as possible – starting with a space hopper – to raise funds for a new youth centre in the town.
Mr Howell, 49, who is married with three children, is team vicar in Keynsham of which St John the Baptist church is one of five within the parish.
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He said most of the trip through ten countries would be by train but they hoped to stop off in Vienna, Istanbul and Jerusalem to find as many different types of transport as possible.
"The connections are very tight but we do hope to have some spare time in a few of the big cities to vary the means of travel," he said.
"I'm totally looking forward to it – we've been planning this for about a year but I am getting a bit more nervous as we get nearer to the day," he added.
There will be one short trip when Mr Howell will have to fly – the only way to reach Jerusalem is by air.
He has already raised £3,500 in sponsorship for the @One youth centre project but hopes to raise as much as £10,000.
A total of £260,000 has already been raised towards the £390,000 target for buying and converting the former St John's rectory into a youth and community centre.
The new premises are already in use and are available to all young people, whatever their faith.
A youth counselling project called Off The Record has already been set up and it is hoped Southside family counselling service will begin soon.
The centre is also used by Freedom Dance Company, Shake @One, which is an after-school milkshake and internet bar, BMX workshops and Keynsham parish's youth group.
Mr Howell will be accompanied by Dave Sprague who will be filming the trip and producing a video journal and CD on their return. The third member of the crew is Fuzzy the Chick who represents youth.
Their journey can be followed on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/ fuzzythechick.
Anyone who would like to sponsor Mr Howell should visit the website, www.justgiving.com/fuzzythechick.