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Holy helter skelter set up in cathedral to in-spire visitors

Funhouse of God:
Ride was installed to show off the cathedral’s roof and broaden its appeal PICTURES: JOE GIDDENS/PA

A CATHEDRAL has installed a 55ft helter skelter so visitors can get a better view of its ornate ceiling.

The Rev Canon Andy Bryant, of Norwich Cathedral, said the idea came to him while he was visiting the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

‘I had the slightly risky thought of “actually the ceiling at Norwich is every bit as wonderful”,’ he said. ‘We have one of the greatest collections of medieval roof bosses in northern Europe. So was born the idea, could we get people up higher?’

Dean descends: The Very Rev Jane Hedges enjoys a slide down the helter skelter

The viewing platform at the top of the ride is within 30ft of the 69ft ceiling. After taking a look, visitors can slide down, just for fun. ‘We all are always looking to broaden the appeal of our cathedrals,’ the Rev Bryant said. ‘We want everybody to feel they can come and enjoy it.’

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, said the congregation ‘asked questions about it’ but were now ‘completely converted’. The ride will be up until August 18 and costs £2 per slide, to cover its hire.

Visitor Ray Stevens, 58, from Peterborough, said: ‘I was surprised but I think it’s a great thing.’

But Greetja Boedeltja, also 58, from the Netherlands, said: ‘This is fun — you do it in the churchyard, not in the church. It’s not respectful.’