Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Art of Clean, Abseiling for Charity (EACH)

A couple of months ago, my boss – Pierre, asked me to have a look around the World Wide Web (preferably in the Cambridge locale) and find a charitable challenge. Something that would inspire and see our staff pushing themselves to promote a worthy cause. We do this from time to time (here's Pierre doing the ice bucket challenge). After some hours, I whittled the options down and presented Pierre with my decision – abseiling for EACH (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices).


For those of you that have never abseiled before, it entails a couple of ropes (one for you to direct your rate of decent) and one for the safety bloke (to hold onto in case your rate of decent is a little faster than you’d envisaged). You’re strapped to within an inch of your manhood (see attached photos) and then, you jump, literally.
Now, it’s not the waiting to jump, although that’s a little nerve wracking, it’s not the climb to the top (elevator ride in this case) and it’s not even the casual joking by the safety people about red dots being cleaned off the pavement prior to your jump…it’s the leaning back over the ledge and releasing the rope.
When I proposed this jump, I had, in fact, imagined one or two of your brave and burly chaps on the team to take up the challenge. Short of that, I’d hope Louise, Gail or Laurence might “man-up”…sadly this was not the case. So, when the eyes circled the room, looking for a willing wimp, they settled on me.
To be honest, I’ve para-glided before and I’ve parachuted before, but the first was as a passenger and in a heavy mist, so I couldn’t see anything until it was happening; the second was a tandem jump, as a surprise from my wife on my 35th birthday (you can’t say no when you need to look confident and brave in front of your Mrs), but this one was all but self-inflicted.
Disclaimer: I’m a touch terrified of heights. No, Really!
My legs shake, my arms shake, my feet wobble…
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But when you think of the good it does, abseiling for a charity, then you jump. You jump and you think, it’s worth it…and it is.
EACH are a hospice charity (Britain was recently announced as the leader in world-wide hospice care) and it’s their job to support and reassure families and children when they are going through one of the most trying and fraught times of their lives. For this, they are 100% worth the wobbly legs.
Back to the fun…and it actually is, when you get going.
You lean back, jump over the ledge to the wall, releasing a little tension in the rope and drop. You control the rate and after you’ve gotten into the swing of things, it’s fun to go fast.
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So, I would say, I recommend abseiling and charitable work and descending off the Guildhall in Cambridge because the view is spectacular and if you have a few friends there, the support makes the jump that much easier. 
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