Scottish prison chaplain to make a leap of faith from 10,000 feet

(Photo: Church of Scotland)Rev. Jill Clancy

An intrepid prison chaplain plans to drop from the heavens to fund a Scottish community choir trip to the United States.

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Rev. Jill Clancy is the facilitator of the multi-faith chaplaincy team at Barlinnie Prison, Scotland's biggest penitentiary, near Glasgow.

She is planning a skydive jump from 10,000 feet to raise funds for the Ayrshire community choir, Songs for All, to participate in New York City's Tartan Week in April 2025, the Glasgow Times reports.

Clancy hopes she will feel closer to God when she jumps out of a plane at 10,000 feet to raise money for the "Songs for All" group, which is hoping to participate in New York City Tartan Week, according to the Church of Scotland website.

Based in Galston, in southwest Scotland, Songs for All was established in 2014, and its members are aged 11 to 82 years old.


The sponsored tandem skydive jump over the skies of Fife county will see her experience approximately 30 seconds of freefall at speeds up to 120 miles per hour before her parachute is activated.

The daring jump is just one element of an action-packed weekend (May 10-12) that the choir conductor has lined up to raise money.

The minister plans to go wild swimming off the Scottish coast of Irvine and walk around the island of Great Cumbrae, a 10-mile (16-kilometer) loop.

She said she hoped to contribute to the goal of raising enough money to take all 40 choir members to New York City to represent Ayrshire in April 2025.

The 53-year-old minister, who has launched an online fundraising page, said it is estimated to cost members around 1,000 pounds sterling ($1,279) each.

She revealed that she had dreamt of skydiving for a long time, but her weight prohibited her.

Clancy explained: "I've always wanted to jump out of a plane, but I was too heavy to qualify under the regulations.


"My life changed in 2020 when my knee gave way, and I sought medical treatment and was told I would have to have an operation.

"I couldn't work, and I looked in the mirror and saw an old, crippled 50-year-old, and I did not want to be that person and lose my job, which I love.

"I joined Slimming World in Galston and started an eating plan and the weight started to fall off.

"It was a marathon rather than a sprint, but I feel so much happier and healthier now, and I didn't need an operation in the end.

"When we were thinking of all the different ways that we could fundraise for Tartan Week, I realized that I would able to go skydiving now because I lost seven stones in under three years."

Clancy, who was 18st 6lbs (117 kilograms) at her heaviest, said she marvels about God's creation when looking out the window while soaring above the clouds.

"I just love looking down and seeing the beauty below us; it fascinates me," she added.

"The fields are all squared off, the communities of houses and the roadways - everything is so structured and planned."

The Ayrshire community choir was awarded first place in the Ayrshire Musical Festival in 2023.

It plans to release an album later this year, commemorating its 10th anniversary, according to the Glasgow Times.

The choir is made up of members of local towns and villages in Ayrshire, congregations from Mauchline, Tarbolton, Annbank and Galston.

They wear pink tartan scarves made by Prickly Thistle, a weavers company based in Evanton, Easter Ross.

They have a broad repertoire of Scottish Music for Tartan Week which ranges from "A Red, Red Rose" by Robert Burns, "Someone You Loved" by Lewis Capaldi and "Caledonia" by Dougie MacLean.


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