A PAIR of clerics will be going barefoot for Lent to spread the message about world poverty.

Wearing T-shirts and hoodies conveying their message – but no shoes – The Reverend Victoria Ashdown and pastor Andy Fitchet will spend the 40 days from Ash Wednesday without footwear.

They want to raise awareness of poverty both in the UK and abroad – with 80 per cent of the world’s population surviving on £6 or less a day and 1.3billion people living in extreme poverty.

Rev Ashdown, curate of All Hallows Church, in Whitchurch, said: “It came to both of us separately, and it was when we were meeting together to talk about Lent, we both had the same idea so we assumed that was what we were supposed to be doing.

“Lent is a time of penitence so lots of people give up something that they enjoy. The idea is that when you are missing whatever you are enjoying, it reminds you to think of more important things – as a Christian it reminds you to rely on God.

“Andy was thinking very much about how all of God’s creation is holy and in the Bible it says Moses is instructed to take off his shoes as he is standing on holy ground.”

The curate and pastor will visit schools during Lent to spread their message.

Rev Ashdown added: “We are hoping people will notice, when we are walking into shops and going into schools. We want people to think about it and do something.”

Mr Fitchet, pastor at Whitchurch Baptist Church and vice-chairman of Andover Town Council, said: “It will be about sticking to the course even when it’s brutally painful and you just want to put your shoes back on.

“The idea is to do something that’s quite visual and to be reminded to think about the daily comforts that you often take for granted.”