Salvation Army officer Captain Kenneth Guest is preparing to jump out of an aeroplane to raise money for the church and charity’s work in Harpenden.
On 21 April, Kenneth will freefall at over 120mph, touching down at Hinton Airfield, Brackley in Northamptonshire. Money raised will go towards a new kitchen that will serve local people at The Salvation Army’s soon to be redeveloped building on Leyton Green, Harpenden. The new building will be a community hub with a café, activities for young and older people as well as space for The Salvation Army to work with other specialist organisations.
Kenneth, who turns 53 in March, said: “This is completely out of my comfort zone. I don’t do roller-coasters. I’m not sporty. I have been on a plane before so that’s a good start and I won’t be alone - I’ll have an instructor strapped to my back. I’m hoping to raise lots of money for our new community kitchen which is at the heart of our redevelopment plans.”
Every year The Salvation Army runs a Christmas Day lunch for people who would otherwise be on their own. Last year the local church served a three course meal for 80 guests.
Kenneth added: “We’re at full capacity on Christmas Day and our kitchen is on its last legs. We want to create a bigger, more welcoming space that will be fully accessible and able to better serve our community.
“The building project will not only allow us to improve our community services at Christmas, but will also enable us to be there for people who need us every day. A new improved kitchen will be vital for our community café and developing an engaging programme for young and older people.
“All the best parties start in the kitchen – besides good food and refreshment, it’s a place where people talk, where people are supported and where people work alongside each other.”
The Salvation Army received planning permission in May last year to redevelop and extend its existing church and community centre. Building work is due to start in the spring.
The extension will provide a bigger worship hall, a counselling room and a more welcoming entrance lobby. In addition, the existing internal layout will be re-organised to incorporate a new kitchen, two multi-purpose community halls, offices, enhanced toilet facilities and improved accessibility throughout.
Kenneth continues: “My wife and I moved to Harpenden to be the leaders of the local Salvation Army in 2015. It’s a small town with big community spirit. As Salvation Army officers we’ve moved around a lot and Harpenden is the only place I remember where I have known all my neighbours.
“There’s always an event in town – something that brings people together. A farmers’ market one week, a car rally the next, and each Christmas it’s always great to be part of the carnival.
“But we realise that, like in any community, there are those who are on the edges - individuals who are lonely and isolated and families who are marginalised. The Salvation Army has always been committed to helping people experience life in all its fullness. We know wellbeing has a lot to do with being connected and it doesn’t matter how old you are – feeling you belong and are valued is so important.
“We want our new building to be a warm and inviting space where people of all ages can build positive relationships and find support. If anyone would like to support our building and kitchen fund, either by sponsoring me or joining me on the sky dive, I would be very grateful.”
To sponsor Kenneth, please visit here.