Mum abseils down Spinnaker Tower for care unit

When Rachel Why was fighting for her life after being hit by a car, staff at an intensive care unit made sure she had the best chance.

Thursday, 16th June 2016, 3:17 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:59 am
Sharon Partridge after the abseil down the Spinnaker Tower in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth

Rachel’s parents wanted to give something back to the team – so at the weekend, her mum Sharon Partridge abseiled down the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth to raise money for them.

Sharon, 45, from Lancing, has raised more than £2,800 of a £6,000 target, which will go towards buying the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in Southampton General Hospital brand-new pupil scanning equipment.

Friends and family cheered Sharon on as she climbed down the tower on Sunday with Carla, a nurse from the PICU unit.

Sharon, 45, said she was determined that a bit of rain wasn’t going to stop her.

“It was amazing. I wasn’t scared – the scary bit was sitting next to Rachel when she was fighting for her life. That was easy in comparison. It has got us through a really difficult time.”

On March 4, Rachel was crossing the A27 using traffic lights by the Manor roundabout in Lancing when she was hit by a car and sustained substantial head injuries.

She was treated by head trauma specialists at the scene before being driven by ambulance to Royal Sussex County Hospital where she was stabilised.

She was then taken by air ambulance to PICU in Southampton, where she was cared for for three weeks.

During that time, staff had difficulty scanning her pupils with their existing equipment, according to her dad Vernon Why, which is why they decided to buy the team a new pupil scanner.

Vernon, 56, said: “If we just raised money it could’ve been spent on admin. We wanted to leave them something to say thank you in a small way for saving Rachel’s life.”

Rachel was transferred to the pediatric brain injury ward at Southampton General Hospital and has been there since mid-April.

To donate to Vernon and Sharon’s fundraising appeal visit

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