Charity abseil begins

"I'M pleased I've done it, but I'll never do it again!"That was the verdict of one brave schoolgirl, speaking just seconds after reaching the foot of Ipswich Hospital's maternity block today.

"I'M pleased I've done it, but I'll never do it again!"

That was the verdict of one brave schoolgirl, speaking just seconds after reaching the foot of Ipswich Hospital's maternity block today.

Katie Harrison, 15, of Stowupland High School, had just completed the 150-foot abseil along with her school pal Shelley Hunt, 16.

Speaking before her challenge, she said: "I've been watching people come down but they're the experts and they make it look easy.

"I've been nervous since last night. I just don't want to fall off."

These emotions turned to relief as she reached the bottom, raising £60 for a children's cancer charity in the process.

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She said: "It was horrible stepping over the edge. It felt as if I was going to fall off. I was shaking so much."

Her friend Shelley, who raised around £40 for the same cause, said she was not nervous beforehand but found the experience quite "scary".

"I kept losing my feet and I was 'on my God, I'm going to fall'," she said.

Peter Edwards, 41, of Michigan Close, Kesgrave, was waiting for his wife, Sally, 40, to reach the bottom.

He said: "I'm incredibly proud of her, but a little bit nervous. I think she's mad but she's raised £100 for Alzheimer's."

Event manager Frank Turmel praised the bravery of those taking part in the eight hospital abseil.

"For most of these people it's a once in a lifetime thing and it takes a lot of courage to do," he said.

More than 1,000 people raising tens of thousands of pounds for charity are due to take part in the annual abseil today and tomorrow.

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