A unique blessing has taken place at the famous Stump Cross Caverns, deep in the Yorkshire Dales.
Revd Darryl Hall, vicar of The United Parish of Upper Nidderdale, was asked to bless the caves ahead of an underground “sit-in” to publicise the threat to its existence due the tourist slump caused by Covid-19.
Stump Cross Caverns has been owned and run by the Bowerman family for 18 years and Lisa Bowerman and her partner, Nick Markham are spending 105 hours in the caves this week.
Revd Darryl said he was happy to bless the event as worshippers had a special relationship with the amazing underground space: “Last year, when we were unable to hold services in church, I began filming Communions about the Dale.
“I felt very privileged indeed to have been allowed to film in Stump Cross Caverns, it was very special. “We simply have to do all we can to preserve these Caves for future generations."
He is pictured with "cavewoman" Lisa and Revd Darryl’s Cave Communion can be viewed here
Stump Cross Caverns have been very affected by the Covid-19 outbreak and Lisa said they need £200,000 to pay for new lighting at the caves. She and Nick are even raffling their Pateley Bridge home to raise funds: “The caves are unique in many ways but definitely when it comes to lighting them.
"It’s damp, inaccessible in places so quite a challenge to illuminate it to its best advantage.
“We have turned to a specialist cave lighting firm in Germany who will help us along with our electricians to improve lighting in a much more sustainable and environmentally friendly way.”