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Hospice UK Trustee’s abseil raises £1.5k

Author: Leila Hawkins
28 March 2017

Stephen Greenhalgh, Chief Executive of St Catherine's Hospice in Lancashire and Hospice UK Trustee, has abseiled an impressive 120 feet in stormy weather to raise money for the hospice and for Hospice UK. Here he tells us about his adventure in the skies.

We had a great day at St John’s Church, Whittle-Le-Woods, Chorley, Lancashire earlier this month.  Around 60 victims clambered, or in my case, staggered up the cramped ancient spiral staircase in the musty old stone tower.  Taking a few gasps of air we scrambled past the belfry admiring the ancient sound-bows, clappers and headstocks resting noiselessly with what seemed like a sense of stifled foreboding. 

Around the corner a shaft of light broke onto splintered gnarled wooden steps revealing a century or so of dust, and our destiny.  We broke out onto a typical Lancashire day, heavy with moisture and monstrous cumulous leviathan gathering across a threatening skyline. 

The panorama was breath-taking for more reasons than one.  A friend of mine once said "life doesn't bear too much examination so I just keep busy." So when a man clad in Gortex, ropes and karabiners shouted "who wants to go first", I didn't hesitate.

It seemed quite fitting, that on this sanctified edifice with the foes of impending darkness and downpour ready to vent their wrath upon us, we had to take a bold step of faith to escape their clutches. 

As I straddled the battlements and a fleeting "what am I doing here" moment, I stepped out into 120 feet of emptiness.  Fortunately, I had ignored the encouragement of a number of friends and decided, after careful deliberation, to use the ropes provided which I felt, at the time and on balance, was one of my uncharacteristically more sensible life choices.

Despite the inclement weather, I am very pleased to announce that all of us - thanks to Emma's diligent planning - landed safely albeit at various speeds! 

The above photograph is of a somewhat overweight Spiderman wearing particularly mucky boots, as evidence of my efforts.  To add to your amusement, the photographer from the Lancashire Post missed my early descent and so very graciously asked me to repeat the exercise.

It costs around £1bn to run the UK's hospices each year and the majority of that depends on the generosity of people like you.  Together we raised £1,500 and the event as a whole will make a profit of just over £10,000.  So, thank you again for kindly assisting St Catherine's and Hospice UK to help countless families and patients facing life-shortening illnesses, to avoid needless pain, distress and unnecessary time in hospital.  So many families describe our care as "beyond price" but actually there is one and you are helping to pay it. 

For more information visit Hospice UK and St. Catherine’s Hospice.

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