High winds test nerves of abseil fund-raisers

Date: Friday 19th June 2015
Ellie Graham and her father, Steven, in action during the Civic Centre abseil.
Ellie Graham and her father, Steven, in action during the Civic Centre abseil.

PLUCKY fund-raisers say they were “blown away” by the support for a sponsored abseil which went ahead on one of the windiest days this year.

Four pupils from Clifton Primary School were part of a 25-strong group of brave souls who participated in the daunting Carlisle descent. Along with teachers, parents and friends, the youngsters completed the 145ft abseil down the city’s Civic Centre building.

They did so on the same day that visitors to the Cumberland show, just a few miles away, were battered by strong gusts which hit the county.

“We had a fantastic day, one many of us will never forget,” said Nicola Stevenson, chairman of the school’s parents’ and teachers’ association. She was one of those who took part.

“It was particularly windy that day, which added to the nerves. The wind was relentless on the ground and pretty bad on top, but abseiling down was a surreal experience which brought an air of calmness with absolutely no accompanying wind at all.”

Every one of the 25 participants completed the abseil, with helpful backing from family, friends, teachers and pupils below. They did so to raise money for the introduction of reading “lofts” at the school. These will create a quiet and calm area in which children can read quietly.

“We raised a staggering £4,825.65 and still have a good deal of money to come back from gift aid,” said Nicola. “This amount has exceeded all of our expectations and we are unbelievably grateful for all support and sponsorship we have received. The reading lofts can now go ahead as planned, offering the children much needed extra space to read and have quiet time.

“On behalf of the PTA we would especially like to thank Mark and Jill Davies, along with Brian Thomson, who gave up their time to keep us safe and kept everyone’s nerves at bay with their expertise, calmness, care and patience.”

Mark, another parent, is a mountaineering instructor and trainer at Tebay-based Lyon Equipment Ltd., which loaned equipment for the abseil.