CANON Sue Booys can't walk on water but she will walk on custard for the seventh Dorchester Festival.

On Friday, April 28 the festival will open its doors, with 55 events across 10 days all based in and around Dorchester Abbey.

The following day at 12 noon about 16 volunteers will abseil down the 100ft abbey tower to raise funds for the festivals two nominated charities, Dorchester Abbey and the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed.

Two years ago the Rev Canon Booys, the Rector of Dorchester, braved the dizzy heights to join others for the fundraising abseil.

But this year she will keep her feet firmly on the ground, although for a short time they will be covered in custard.

The Rev Canon Booys said one of the highlights of the festival would be the science afternoon on May 1, Bank Holiday Monday when, after workshops, shows and Messy Church Science, she will attempt to 'demonstrate the properties of a non-Newtonian fluid by walking on custard.'

The abseil has been arranged with the help of climbing instructor Jamie Wakeham, who has organised training and safety sessions for those taking part.

And the event will be launched by Alex Gregory MBE, two-time Olympic Gold medalist from 2012 and 2016 in the coxless fours.

Festival organiser Steph Forman said about 3,000 people were expected to attend the festival, which runs from Friday, April 28 to Sunday, May 7.

She said: "This year’s programme aims to inspire and capture the imagination of all ages, bringing as many people as possible into the abbey for the first time.

"The eclectic mix of events includes The Tallis Scholars, West End hit Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, and cookery demonstrations in local kitchens with great chefs such as Sophie Grigson.

"There are children’s workshops for all ages and interests, and a great food fair.

"There will also be a scarecrow trail and historic trail, which will give people plenty to do, if they just want to wander round our beautiful village.

"It's incredible that a village this size can host a festival which brings in so many people each year."

Ms Forman added that The Tallis Scholars had an international reputation and were also performing at Carnegie Hall in New York and in Japan.

Dorchester Festival is organised by about 150 people and since 2005 has raised more than £110,000 for the restoration of the abbey and nominated local charities.

To find out more about the festival and book tickets visit