Posted By: Greg - Vet

Greg gets nervous about his stay in jail

When I was asked to spend 24 hours in Shepton Mallet’s historic prison, Cornhill, I initially jumped at the chance, as I'd always wanted to explore inside such a fascinating building with lots of equally interesting tales. The fact that it was for charity was an added bonus. SOS Africa is, in its own words a ‘small UK based grassroots child sponsorship organisation’ - I've seen the charity shop in the middle of town, but I've since learnt that it helps fund the education of less privileged African schoolchildren, from its base here in Shepton Mallet.

However that night I didn't sleep too well. I started to think a little too deeply about all those interesting tales that the prison had played host to. I had done some reading on the prison as I wanted a bit of background and I do enjoy learning about the history of these places, but maybe Wikipedia had told me too much. I had asked Harry, our practice maintenance handyman, because I knew he'd spent a lot of time working there, maintaining the building and as a guard. But maybe I shouldn't have? I kept turning over in my head the visions from inside the cell, the stories of what had gone before, and all the strange noises that I would hear. I don't like horror movies and I'm scared of spiders; how was I going to do this?!

That was before considering the intense boredom that might engulf me from being stuck in the small space between those four cell walls. No phone, no TV, no Facebook?? I was really considering changing my mind – even though I hate going back on something I've agreed on - but then again I thought of the great work that the charity do, and that the least I could do was give up 24 hours of my First World problems to help these African kids get a good education despite the poverty they're accustomed to. And anyway, it was too late – over the weekend I'd already raised the required funds (£240 - £10 an hour) from ever so kind (cruel?) colleagues and clients that would guarantee my stay.

I'll be able to sleep at night knowing I've done my bit this year to a worthwhile charity, just maybe not that weekend in May in that cold cell after lights out… 

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