Abseilers raise tens of thousands

GALLERY & VIDEO Hundreds of people took a brave step off the top of Ipswich Hospital's maternity unit to raise money for charity.

HUNDREDS of people took a brave step off the top of Ipswich Hospital's maternity unit to raise money for charity.

The crazy daredevils threw caution to the wind as they scaled down the 150ft wall but were greeted at the ground by cheers and applause from dozens of spectators.

More than 800 people went to the Heath Road site to take part in the two-day event over the weekend, and after getting their harnesses on and receiving instruction from experts, they made the leap of faith.

A total of £77,832 was raised from the day and this will be going to at least 60 different charities.

This is the 13th year the event has been staged and during that period around 350 charities have benefited from sponsorship money.

Frank Turmel, event organiser from Main Event Group Activities, said: “It went really well. Most people pre-booked but we did have some just turn up on the day and try it out.

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“They got taken up to the roof and given a lesson by a qualified instructor. For some of them, it was a huge personal challenge.

“The money raised will go to lots of different charities.”

One of the brave abseilers, Laura Holland, said: “It wasn't too bad. I wish I hadn't grabbed on as much. I was more nervous when I got down to the bottom. It hit me then.

“I was doing it for the charity Out and About.”

Sarah Lyon, 20, and her friend Sarah Fisk, 24, were also taking part to raise money for Out and About, an Ipswich charity which helps disabled children.

Miss Lyon, said: “It was very exciting. Towards the bottom, I got really worried. I kept banging against the wall. I did it for my friend's charity because I wanted to support her.

“It's been good fun.”

Another brave participant was Anglia TV reporter Becky Jago, whose family comes from the Stowmarket area.

Many took part to raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice, including 20 members of staff from Anglia IT, one of whom dressed up as spiderman.

The directors of Seatons Estate Agents along with seven of their staff also overcame their nerves to raise £2,500 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Ashley Halls, director said: “The Suffolk Abseil was a great way for us to kick off our charity partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support. This has been a fantastic team effort and all of the staff are backing our association with Macmillan Cancer Support 100 per cent.”

Young cadets were holding the ropes and making sure people landed correctly.

The victorious participants all received a certificate for their efforts.

Are you doing something different to raise money for a worthy cause? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.