Spiderwoman �Isabella Whitworth

A Creepy Sleep-Out

Ross Tibbles
Ross Tibbles

How would you feel about sleeping in a church tower overnight? Would you be petrified of bats, mice, or ghouls in the graveyard?

On the night of 16th / 17th July, Isabella Whitworth, a bellringer from Hatherleigh, will be camping in the church tower to raise funds for the bells’ restoration appeal. She will be armed with a camp-bed, a sleeping-bag, water and a sandwich or two. She will also take a bucket, because Hatherleigh Church has, as yet, no loo. The name for her stunt, ‘Creepy Sleep-Out’ was coined by Vicar Reverend Leigh Winsbury who, of course, has to give permission for such japes on his patch.

Is sleeping overnight in the tower such a big deal? It certainly is if you have a lifelong fear of spiders as Isabella does. She says; “There don’t need to be any spiders in sight, just the possibility of there being one close by can put me very much on edge. In the tower I often see hefty specimens trot across the floor and just have to stop ringing until someone removes the spider. I’m not particularly bothered about mice, bats, or ghosts in the graveyard…” she continues.  Then she adds, with a little less confidence; “although all that may change on 16th.”

Isabella says she will be trying to get along with any spiders at a distance and if they get too near ‘whoosh them away’, or leg it into the main church for a few minutes. “But I’m not going to squish them,” she says.

Isabella is looking to raise £500 and has already gained several supporters who are donating every hour that she stays in the tower. She is proposing to broadcast Instagram Lives during the night to prove she hasn’t bailed out and crept home.

If you’d like to support Isabella and the bellringers’ fundraising appeal, please donate via Hatherleigh Bellringers Restoration Project GoFundMe page, leaving a spidery comment. You can also contact Isabella via the ringers’ Instagram account @eightbells8.

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