Roman Centurion Jeff braved cold and droopy tights to protect ancient Holyhead church from vandals


Dale Spridgeon

A ‘ROMAN Centurion’ braved freezing cold temperatures and droopy tights to undertake a 24 hour vigil to protect an ancient Holyhead church from vandals.

Former Holyhead mayor and former councillor Jeff ‘Maximus’ Evans carried out the watch in full Roman clothing, partly bought and partly made by himself from a pair of red curtains, in the grounds of St Cybi's Church at the weekend. 

Mr Evans started his vigil from midnight on Saturday,  December 2  and finished at midnight on Sunday, December 3. 

His aim was to protect the church and its grounds after reports of anti-social behaviour around the church, which is on the site of a sixth century Roman fort.

It recently had a 600 year old leaded, stained glass window damaged and some money stolen, causing about £1,500 of damage.

Mr Evans said “St Cybi's is a fine church it has served the community of Holyhead for hundreds of years. We cannot allow such wanton acts to affect this church and the community, and the vigil is a token gesture to bring attention to such anti social behaviour, and to state that we will not accept it within the church grounds .

“It was absolutely freezing and I got a bit tired. I didn’t quite realised just how long 24 hours can last! The worst thing was wearing my wife’s ladies’ tights to keep me warm, they kept going all droopy. You ladies have a lot to contend with!”

“I was joined during the night by a cat and a fox, at first I thought that was a ghost! I also had a visit from some friendly revellers.

“I have received a lot of community goodwill, and there has been a lot of local disgust and condemnation of the action of the vandals, but everyone has supported my vigil with people dropping by with money, even two little children gave me their 20ps.”

The vigil ended in time for the Advent service at the church, on Sunday December 3, where Jeff attended in his Roman attire. The service, which marked the first day of Christmas, was also attended by the High Sheriff of Gwynedd Professor S Hope OBE and Mayor of Holyhead Ann Kennedy.

To date Mr Evans has raised about a £1,000 but if anyone would like to add to his collection  contact 0754 2716756 for a sponsor form, or donate within St Cybi's church.

Alternatively donations can be made via a bank to: Nat West Bank, Sort Code 53-50-53, Account name. Holy Island / City, Account No 57099316.


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