The Spinnaker Tower Abseil, which has been fantastically organised by our Home Counties office since 2013, is just one of the extreme events that ABF The Soldiers’ Charity offers. Soaring 170 metres above Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent, the Emirates Spinnaker Tower is taller than the London Eye, Blackpool Tower and Big Ben, and has already established itself as a national icon for Britain. This year, more than 60 brave supporters took to the Tower’s heady heights, with the event raising more than an impressive £15,000.
To say thank you for the donations they received, one of our particularly successful fundraisers sent their sponsors a witty and honest account of their experience shortly after their abseil. The article prompted several chuckles among both our Regional and Head Office teams, with fond memories of clinging to non-existent ‘ledges’ and appreciating the dedicated support who had come along “…to watch a potential fall from grace…” particular highlights. In fact, we enjoyed it so much, we thought we would share the full account with you below…enjoy!
‘It seemed a good idea at the time’ I thought, as I obeyed the nice soldier who gently told me to ‘step over the rail and put my foot on the ledge’… Ledge? What ledge?! Suffice to say that my foot (note: not ‘feet’) swamped the 2 inches of metal referred to as a ‘ledge’! But having replied to the video camera operator that I was ‘doing it for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity (and to promote the Basingstoke Lions Club)’, and having handed over £1,500 (apparently the most received by far and warranting an introduction to the Charity’s Head) from 60 wonderful donors, I was committed.
It was also wonderful to see the 18 people that seemed to think it would be fun to watch a potential fall from grace, who patiently waited the hour or so until the yellow Lions tabard – not a thing of beauty but very spottable 500 feet up – appeared on the ‘launch pad’; their applause, as my wobbly knees and I returned, was as heart-stopping as the descent.
And what of the descent? ‘Heart-stopping’ does it, although not with fear surprisingly, but with the sparkling view of the fabulous scene laid out before me – sea, ships, some stunning sailing boats, fabulous buildings old and new and the happy sight of people enjoying the sunshine. And of course, the architectural marvel (in my personal view) of the graceful tower, as I periodically looked up its length to where it seemed to pierce the infinity of that blue and cloudless sky…
And actually, not a little emotion, as I remembered why I was doing this; where, how and who that £1,500 might help – really such a little thing to undertake for people who have done so much for us in the distant past, the difficult present, and will do in the unknown future.
Our immense thanks to this dedicated and intrepid supporter. It is down to the valiant efforts of people like you that we are able to continue our vital work – supporting soldiers, veterans and their immediate families, for life. We salute you!
To discover what’s going on in your local area, visit our regions page.