Town vicar’s fast comes to an end

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Mansfield vicar Keith Hebden has reached the end of a 40-day fast as part of a bid to highlight food poverty around the UK.

The Rev Keith Hebden, vicar at St Mark’s in Nottingham Road, will begin his water and fruitjuice-only diet on 5th March, as part of the national End Hunger Fast campaign.

The national drive aims to highlight the issue of food poverty and the rise in food banks, and comes after forty-three Christian leaders, including 27 Anglican bishops, signed a letter urging Prime Minister David Cameron to ensure people get enough to eat.

Keith’s ordeal came to an end on Sunday at 9pm.

He said: “It was quite moving. I realised I do miss food as it turns out, because mentally you had to not want food.

“My body has calmed down now I have had a little meat but it will take about three weeks to return to normality.”

Now, for the next five days Keith must avoid carbohydrates and processed food.

Rev Hebden spent the last three days of his fast alone at a vicar’s retreat, praying and contemplating the fast.

He said: “It was very productive because when your attachments to things are loosened your mind is very clear.”

To mark the end of the End Hunger Fast campaign, Keith is delivering a letter to PM David Cameron’s constituency office in Witney, Oxfordshire, today.

The letter, signed by 40 bishops and more than 600 clergy from across all the major Christian denominations, calls for urgent action on food poverty and urges the government to commit fully to the independent inquiry on the rise of UK hunger.