The rector of St Mary’s Church Byfleet has turned his athletic efforts towards raising funds to help maintain the churchyard.

John McCabe has taken up Laser Run, which is a laser shoot, shooting five green lights, then a 600-metre run, twice over. “Then in May this year I was selected for the World Championships in Bath last month in the M60 category,” John said.

“For the past ten years I have been taking up a new sport or variation most years with the aim of representing GB at age group events.

“In 2012 I entered the Blenheim Triathlon as an individual competing against five teams from Byfleet village. I did beat one team, but only because the cyclist fell off and suffered concussion, from which he made a full recovery. 

“In 2015, although swimming is not my strong suit and it was a serious mistake not to wear a wetsuit, I represented GB in an aquathlon in Germany, which was a 750-metre swim in the Rhine and 5km run. 

“Then, thinking about something new again, in 2019 I competed in the European Championships mixed relay M60 biathle, a 400-metre run, 50-metre swim and 400-metre run. In 2022 I asked the parish to sponsor me for the World Biathle and Triathle Championships in Madeira.

“Meanwhile, St Mary’s Churchyard has had to face a series of challenges. There are cutbacks affecting the closed churchyard and, in the open churchyard, we have experienced a set of unexpected challenges. 

“On top of our current capacities we’d like to raise another £800 this year to help keep the churchyard looking fantastic. We receive no external funding for this and the around 70 givers who fund everything the church does in Byfleet really appreciate the extra input.

“At the same time, the people and businesses of Byfleet have been amazing. So many people and companies have come forward. Even more, 21 people from all walks of life attended a volunteer event to ‘Keep the churchyard fantastic’ organised by Robbie Withers and they achieved some truly exceptional results.

“I am hoping to raise £800 to kickstart the new Fabric Fund. We are also aiming for a further 26 people to commit to a monthly support figure, however modest that might be. So far we have raised £600 of the current appeal, so about 75 per cent. We just need a bit of extra help to make our target.”

And how did John’s athletic efforts fare?

“I was able to place 12th in the Laser Run M60 World Championships and as the third Team GB member home was the happy recipient of the team silver medal.” 

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