Superheroes join in zip-slide efforts

VIDEO Superman, Father Christmas, and Elvis were just some of the colourful characters who flew across the pitch at Portman Road to raise money for charity.

SUPERMAN, Father Christmas, and Elvis were just some of the colourful characters who flew across the pitch at Portman Road to raise money for charity.

The St Elizabeth Hospice zip-slide event saw 150 daredevils travel from the top tier of the Greene King Stand, 200 feet above the pitch, at a speed of about 30mph before landing at the bottom of the North Stand.

The brave souls taking part had to raise sponsorship money to enter and it is thought the event, which took place on Saturday and yesterdaywill collect about £40,000.

A range of people of all ages took part, including both doctors and patients at the hospice, a great grandmother looking to “grow old disgracefully” and an avid Ipswich Town fan whose mother died in the hospice.

Patsy Johnson said: “It has been really good fun and everyone has enjoyed themselves. We were trying to think of a new fundraising event and people said they had done abseiling, and skydiving before so wanted to do something different.

“It has taken about a year for it all to come together because there was a lot of red tape to go through but it has been worth it and it is something different.

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“We are hoping to raise £40,000, which keeps the hospice running for four days. We let the women who had raised the most go down first.”

The first 'zipper', Sally Hewetson, a volunteer for the hospice, from Bentley, said: “It was absolutely wonderful. I did not get much sleep the night before but it was really fun.

“The boys who did the harnesses were so professional. I would definitely do it again. It wasn't long enough.”

Thanks to generous donations from friends, both she and her friend Tessa Scott, who followed after her, raised £4,000 in total.

Another courageous participant who stepped up to the mark was cancer sufferer Margaret Bean.

The mother of seven from Castle Road, Whitehouse only stepped in to do the challenge when one of her sons dropped out. Two of her other sons, Steven and Thomas also took part.

Mrs Bean, who was diagnosed with back cancer in 2006, said: “I am in remission now but I still get a bit of backache. The doctors at the hospice saved my life and I wanted to do something for them. I was so nervous and couldn't stop shaking before but it was so much fun. I want to do it again!”

Services at the hospice include an in-patient unit, day care services, out patient clinic, a Hospice at Home service, family support team, complementary therapy and physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

For more information call the fundraising office on 01473 723600 or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk.

Have you done something crazy to raise money for charity? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

TAKING part in St Elizabeth Hospice's zip-slide event is not an experience I'll forget in a hurry.

In fact for a thrill-seeker like myself, there are fewer exciting ways to spend a Saturday morning.

As our group was taken behind the scenes of Ipswich Town Football Club's stadium to be harnessed up, there was a quiet buzz. Most of us had some 'pre-match nerves'-much like the many players who have tread that same path so many times before.

A very efficient team made sure we were all kitted out properly, and once we were safely strapped in, we headed up to the Greene King Stand.

It's kind of high up here, I thought to myself, as I looked back at the spectators in the North Stand who were all tiny dots. But still we climbed higher, until, near the top, we were told to take a seat and wait our turn.

I didn't actually get too nervous until it was my time to go for it and then I got that feeling of inevitability you get when you're strapped in to a rollercoaster. There is no way back.

I was attached to the wire by my harness and then edged forward slightly to a wooden plank, where I was meant to literally walk off the end.

And then, before I knew it, I was off.

It didn't feel too fast but it was obviously travelling at some speed because by the time I got the confidence to let go of the rope and wave my arms around, I was half way down. I looked around the stadium on the way down and felt like I was flying through the air.

It was a truly exhilarating experience, which left me with an adrenaline high and an urge to have another go.

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