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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Charity Abseil

It's been a busy week or so here in the Wye Valley, although strictly speaking most of that time was in Scotland... More on that another time. Yesterday was the day of the sponsored abseil at Symonds Yat in aid of the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA), and having spent a fair chunk of the past 6 months organising the event, I was anxious for it to go well.

A Ropey Business

The SARA Beachley station is lucky enough to have the services of three Single Pitch Award holders in addition to me so, despite the initial plan of me operating an abseil line, I was able to take a step back as Laura, Ed and Glyn rigged the lines. Other crew members busied themselves with setting up a registration area, getting harnesses and helmets ready and tying a handrail for participants to get back up the steep slope at the end of their abseil. The crew worked efficiently and competently, leaving me to wander a little aimlessly until the first participants began to arrive at 9.45.

Friends and Family

Laura began the day operating the abseil, which gave her the opportunity to look after her anxious dad Andy. A builder by trade, he happily scales ladders when working but was put off by the thought of a 90 foot abseil. With all credit to him though, he went over the edge with no fuss and raced down to the bottom. That set the tone for the rest of the day as one after the other the participants disappeared from view on their trip to the bottom. Some participants were cheered on by friends, family and - in one case- a small dog! Our crew at the bottom of the crag ensured that spectators stayed safe and sound with helmets on to protect them from any rockfall.

The final group of abseilers included Graeme and Maggie from Monmouth Canoe Club. Graeme claimed to be terrified, but made no fuss at all despite producing some characteristically awful poetry prior to taking part:

Today's the day of my abseil
Just hear me scream and hear me wail 
I should not fear 
They've got the gear 
But I'm still scared that it might fail

On a slightly more serious note, it was fantastic to see so many people facing their fears and coming through the experience all the stonger.

A Great Success

Final figures are yet to be confirmed, but the event seems likely to raise somewhere in the region of £1700 for SARA, a great morning's work for a terrific organisation that is entirely reliant on donations to continue its important work.

(photo nicked from Graeme!)

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