Filed under: College Pranks, Practical Jokes and Mischief, Pranksters, The History of Pranks
Cantab ‘Original Prankster’ Dies, Aged 94
by Harry Shukman
11th February 2012
One of the oldest former members of the infamous Cambridge Night Climbers has died, aged 94.
This small and select group of daredevils ran, jumped and swang over the rooftops of Cambridge under the cover of darkness, just for kicks.
Back in the day, Nares made his name by climbing King’s Chapel to hang an effigy of King George VI just before his coronation.
Writing in his memoirs, Nares remembered ‘a rash of bunting and union jacks’ appearing all over Cambridge.
‘It prompted me,’ he said, ‘to think of some appropriate way of mocking the whole pantomime of royalty.’
So with a mate and a model of the future King, he scaled the Chapel but was unfortunately stopped by porters, hearing the squeaking pulleys hoisting the effigy. Nares and his friend were rusticated for the rest of the term.
This original prankster’s legacy lives on today – the Night Climbers made headlines in December 2009 for planting 25 Christmas Hats on Cambridge’s dreaming spires.
Nowadays they’re tough to track down, but many Cantabs have seen them running off into the night.
David Wilson, a second year at Clare remembers how he once saw a climber running over the top of Trinity.
‘I was utterly gobsmacked at seeing someone running along the rooftops,’ says David. ‘It’s sad that such a daring former Night Climber has passed away, but he’s gone down in history as Cambridge legend.’