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6-FR-NESS

Fr Ness beats illness to climb Ben Nevis for SCIAF’s water appeal

Parish priest Fr Owen Ness had to scale a huge mountain of his own before climbing Ben Nevis to raise funds for SCIAF’S Real Gifts Water Lifeline project

PARISH priest Fr Owen Ness had to scale a huge mountain of his own before climbing Ben Nevis to raise funds for SCIAF’s Real Gifts Water Lifeline project.

Fr Ness, 67, is parish priest of St John Bosco’s in Easterhouse, Glasgow, which comprises St Benedict’s and St Clare’s churches.

Only a year ago he was suffering from the back condition stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal.

It left him unable to walk and he had to leave his parish for a spell to recuperate.

But Fr Ness refused to let the condition beat him. A year later he climbed Britain’s highest mountain to raise the £637 needed for SCIAF’s Water Lifeline project to help members of a community have the water needed for their crops.

“I am not one for publicity but I am happy that SCIAF might benefit from what I have done,” Fr Ness, pictured below beside the summit cairn, said.

“I am always happy for the parish to be promoted as the people here have been very generous. I had seen the SCIAF Real Gifts campaign and there was one called Water Lifeline, which helps a community have the water they need to keep their crops alive and costs £637.

“I have helped water projects in Africa for a number of years so when I saw this opportunity I put it in the parish newsletter that over the summer we would try to raise the £637 required for the Water Lifeline project.

“One parishioner kindly came up and said, ‘Father, whatever you are short of to hit your target I will give you it.’

“Last year at this time I couldn’t walk. I have always been active and was still playing five-a-side football and running half marathons but then suddenly I developed stenosis, which overtook me.

“It got so bad that from the end of May until the beginning of August I actually had to leave the parish and go and live in my own home.

“People were amazed and were asking me ‘How can you even consider climbing Ben Nevis with your back?’ But when I said I was going to do the climb the parishioners responded tremendously and we actually exceeded the target.

“It amazed me that we hit the target and it all came about because people were so concerned about their priest climbing Ben Nevis. Before I knew it the parishioners had produced sponsor sheets and people were very generous.

“Some were saying ‘Don’t worry Father, if you don’t make it to the top we are still quite happy to give you the money for SCIAF.’ I told them I’d definitely make it to the top. I wasn’t concerned about that.”

 

– If you would like to help Fr Ness and the parishioners of St John Bosco’s with SCIAF Water Lifeline fundraising, go to: www.sjb-easterhouse.com/single-post/2017/07/26/Parish-SCIAF-Project

 

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