Night behind bars to raise funds for trust

NARG 1601041AM1 Bethany Longden. Bethany Longden who spent a night in cell at the Ripon Prison and Police Museum. Picture : Adrian Murray.(1601041AM1)
NARG 1601041AM1 Bethany Longden. Bethany Longden who spent a night in cell at the Ripon Prison and Police Museum. Picture : Adrian Murray.(1601041AM1)
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From sun down to sun up Bethany Longden gave up her home comforts to spend a night alone in Ripon’s Victorian Prison and Police Museum.

She followed in the footsteps of many an unfortunate inmate when she experienced first hand the harsh conditions of this grim prison at St Marygate.

The building had previously served as the House of Correction for Vagrants (1686-1816), Liberty Prison (1816-1878) and Police Station (1887-1956).

Bethany, who is the sister in law of Ripon Museum’s Director, James Etherington, braved a night alone in the bare cells, with only wifi to keep her company, and shared her experiences throughout the night on twitter @RiponMuseums

Bethany, who is raising funds for both Ripon Museum Trust and also the Voluntary Service Overseas Project, said: “I wanted raising money for these good causes to be a real challenge for me, so I thought of the worst things that could happen to me and being imprisoned was near the top of my list.

“On February 1 I will be departing to spend 12 weeks with VSO’s youth programme, ICS, in South-West Nigeria.

“I will be working under the banner of Livelihoods; where there is such a large economic inequality between the rich and the poor.

“This will include promoting small-scale entrepreneurship, encouraging young people and women to take up vocational skills training, and raising awareness of ways to increase food production.”

Anyone wanting to donate can visit Bethany’s fundraising page at https://www.justgiving.com/Bethany-Longden/

The Prison and Police Museum traces the history of policing through displays of uniforms and artefacts Ripon Museum Trust manages three sites within the centre of the city of Ripon: the Courthouse Museum, Prison & Police Museum and Workhouse Museum & Garden.

The three museums will all reopen to visitors following the winter closure on Saturday February 13. For more info on opening times visit www.riponmuseums.co.uk or call 01765 690799 email info@riponmuseums.co.uk