THE new mayor of Swindon took a leap of faith at the weekend and raised cash for two children's charities.

Kevin Parry, who was elected last month, abseiled 130ft down the side of the Jurys Inn Hotel on Fleming Way and declared himself 'overwhelmed' with the response he received from his supporters.

Their generosity helped the mayor raise more than £1,000 for the Swindon and North Wilts Deaf Children’s Society and CALM (Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Movement).

He said: “There was all this build up to it, so I was a little bit nervous at the beginning of the week. But it was mind over matter and I signed myself up.

“There are loads of people that are very supportive of me. I've had plenty of encouragement from work, everyone has been saying ‘I want to sponsor you'. So I was totally overwhelmed by that, and I think that gave me the inspiration to just go over and jump.”

Coun Parry is the first mayor to go out of their comfort zone in the event, staged for the last three years by the 1st Dorcan Scout Group.

He said: “The kind of pain hanging off the edge of the building is nothing compared to the suffering that the children go through.

“I’m quite new into the job, but when I look back on it, I know this will be one of the highlights," he added.

The mayor is also preparing to sleep on the streets of London in December, and said: “I don’t like the cold weather, so I’m sure I’ll moan about being out in the cold.”

Christopher Jackson and Shaun Watts, of the Youth Adventure Trust, also abseiled down the hotel on Saturday.

The development charity works with vulnerable young people, aged 11-16 and Christopher took on the challenge to help raise money for a school trip to Kenya.

Having volunteered to help the community in the African country, he said: “It’s changed my attitude... I saw that I could do it and that if I did it, I would feel better because I’ve done it.”

Mark Davey, CEO of the Youth Adventure Trust, said: “Personal challenge is at the heart of everything we do at the Youth Adventure Trust.

"This year we are increasing the number of places available on our outdoor adventure programme and that is in no small part thanks to the incredible fundraising efforts by people like Christopher and Shaun.

"We’re extremely grateful for their support; it really does help us to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable young people.”