This Saturday (14th May), I took part in #AbseilforAutism to raise money for the National Autistic Society.
My day started off very calm, as I woke up in time to have a hearty breakfast before heading to London. Things were looking and feeling good as our fundraising team strapped on our harnesses (except that one who forgot to put his legs in the straps and had to be corrected before a disaster happened!).
Then we reached the roof. Nerves were starting to jangle because 90% of us had never abseiled before. The lovely people at NAS were joking with us to put us at ease and soon I found myself teetering on the edge of a 230ft building.
“Now lean back.”
Nope. No. No way. Nuhuh.
My body suddenly locked itself in protest, acutely aware that only a rope was stopping me from plummeting to a very messy death.
When the helpful man on the roof eventually persuaded me to drop back into thin air, I was rewarded by cramp in my left foot, which is not exactly what you want when you’re 21 storeys high.
My mild panic increasing foot by foot, I annoyed my descent partner by repeatedly calling her name. I think it was a desperate attempt to assure myself I wasn’t alone on the side of this forsaken building. I was suddenly regretting that hearty breakfast.
That’s me on the left.
Half-way down, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t a natural abseiler as I:
- was shaking like a leaf
- was fighting not to spin around (although I did succeed in this venture!)
- had completely lost all rhythm of my descent and was now just resolving to reach the ground as quickly as possible.
I REACHED THE GROUND.
I was neither dignified or graceful about it, but I did it.
I was caught on a horizontal metal pole for a few seconds at the end. I had to disentangle myself and looked ridiculous.
But I DID IT.
Next year, I’m doing a sponsored cycle ride or something that lets me stay close to the ground. Never abseiling again. Never.
My terror (and the fears of my colleagues) was rewarded by circa £3000 (incl. Gift Aid) for The National Autistic Society. We’re still taking donations so we hope to break £4k by the time we’re done!
A huge thank you to everyone who supported us and helped fund-raise for the NAS. Your donations make their important work possible.
This is me when finally reached the bottom. I’m laughing so I don’t cry.
To find out more about #AbseilforAutism and the National Autistic Society at their website: http://www.autism.org.uk/