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Vicar serenades parishioners with trumpet solo from church roof

Performance space: Reverend Alan Saunders on top of Christ Church Pennington's tower PICS: SNWS

A VICAR climbed 260ft to the top of his church tower to serenade parishioners with a popular hymn on the trumpet.

Reverend Alan Saunders, 52, played the tune to cheer up worshippers in Leigh, Greater Manchester, who are stuck at home amid the coronavirus outbreak.

He decided to blast out the popular hymn How Great Thou Art after a member of his congregation said they had seen an Italian trumpeter play the Italian national anthem from his apartment balcony.

He said: ‘I thought where is the equivalent of a balcony and I thought, well, actually the top of our 80m church tower — there’s a flat roof.

‘So I climbed up the spiral staircase and the ladders with the trumpet strapped to my back.

‘The view from the top of the tower is just absolutely amazing. You can see for miles around, even into the centre of Manchester.

‘As I looked across I just felt this urge to pray for everybody from the top of the tower. Then after I prayed, I puckered my lips and started playing the trumpet.’

Head for heights: The vicar climbed to the top of his 260ft church tower

Rev. Saunders had an audience of three roofers who were standing across the road filming him while he blasted out the hymn from the top of Christ Church Pennington.

‘It was quite tricky in the windy conditions,’ he said. ‘I managed to hold the trumpet and play one handed with my phone in the other hand in selfie mode to film it.

‘I was bothered a bit about the wind with the microphone but I think that adds to the drama of the whole thing.

‘There’s real sadness as a result of these lockdown measures, but there comes a decision within ourselves to say we’re not going to let this beat us and to respond positively.’

Interactive: The church is now live streaming its Sunday service during the coronavirus pandemic

The vicar posted the video of him bracing the elements on Facebook and was amazed to receive over 18,000 views.

He used the opportunity to let viewers know about the church’s livestream of its Sunday service, which last week attracted 300 virtual worshippers.

Rev. Saunders is now looking to repeat his performance on top of the church to keep morale high during the new lockdown measures.

He said: ‘Maybe I’ll put a poll out and take a request for some favourite hymns. I’ll pick a time when it’s a bit less windy.

‘I just feel, like many at this time, there’s so much fear and uncertainty around amongst people.

‘For the people in the church to do something to share a positive message and bring hope and encouragement in a time of need is really important.’