First Guild Care abseil affected by wind

Guild Care's first fundraising abseil was a great success, seeing a brave group of people make their way down Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower.

Friday, 26th May 2017, 3:06 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:18 am
Some of those taking part in Guild Cares first charity abseil on Saturday

An impressive 24 people took on the windy venture on Saturday, starting at around 170 metres above Portsmouth Harbour.

But the weather conditions that developed later in the day meant a further 11 abseils had to be postponed until in August.

The charity said health and safety at events like this was taken extremely seriously and although it was disappointing, it understood why the abseil had to be cut short and thanked those who could not complete for their support.

Kerrie Sutton and Sophie Dawes

Among the successful abseilers was 74-year-old Maureen Stansfield, the oldest taking part on the day, who raised more than £1000, and Melissa Paton, who dared to descend on her birthday and was serenaded with a chorus of Happy Birthday towards the end of her abseil.

Karen Baker, who works at Haviland House, the charity’s specialist dementia home, donned an orange tutu for her turn.

She said: “I like a challenge and like to push myself outside my comfort zone and at the end of the day it was supporting a cause very close to my heart. I was dreading the transition of tower to out of tower but the abseil was great and so well organised.

“I feel very proud of myself and looking at the picture of me hanging there supported by two ropes, with people below looking like ants, makes me feel very accomplished.

“The whole experience was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed coming down the tower and I was lucky enough to be supported by my partner Michael, my sons, family and friends, and of course knowing I have helped Guild Care raise valuable funds to increase dementia services.”

All the abseilers went above and beyond the minimum £250 in sponsorship and Guild Care is hoping to have raised more than£11,000 in total. All funds raised will go towards its vital dementia care services.

Katie Banister, fundraising team leader, said: “We really do appreciate the bravery of all the people who took part on the day to support Guild Care.

“This is the first time we have done a charity abseil and apart from the weather, which we had no control over, everything else went like clockwork and we are hoping to run the event again next year.

“We already have three people signed up for that one so if you want to do something amazing for charity and tick something off of your personal bucket list, do get in touch.”

One abseiler who did not have the weather on her side was Helen Tidball, Guild Care’s corporate fundraiser but she is still keen to take the plunge.

She explained that she wanted to do the abseil as she has relatives who have been affected by dementia and close family who have disabilities. Being able to give something back to her community means a lot to her and her partner Spencer.

Helen said: “I was very disappointed as we had got ourselves all ready to do it and we had family that had travelled to be with us. However, it was too dangerous to complete the abseil and the guys putting it together know best.

“I wanted to enjoy my experience and in those high winds that would not have been the case. We will have to go through all the nerves and feelings again, however we cannot let all our sponsors down and will be going down the tower in August.”

There is still time to sponsor Helen for her abseil at

Guild Care would like to thank all of the successful abseilers for taking part and helping raise crucial funds, and say good luck to those still to complete the challenge in August.