Abseil a tall order for height-fearing mayor
Descent from Spinnaker for children’s charity
A MAYOR was forced to overcome his fear of heights when he abseiled down a tall building for charity.
Chesham’s mayor Peter Hudson abseiled down the 170m tall Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth on Friday, August 28 in aid of one of his mayoral charities Dreamflight.
Mr Hudson said: “It was terrifying at the top waiting to go out onto the platform hundreds of feet up. At one point as I swung my legs over the platform I thought I might not be able to do it, my fear of heights is so great, but I managed to overcome my fears by concentrating on the reason I was raising money, for the kids that will benefit from the wonderful experience that Dreamflight makes possible.
“Once I started the descent, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The only significant issue came about half way down when my rope got caught on a bolt and I had to free it, which resulted in me dropping a few feet quite quickly! I also found that my rope hand (feeding the rope to descend) quickly became very tired and towards the end I was coming down faster than I would have liked as well as being buffeted by the wind.”
He added: “About a dozen friends and family came along to support me on the day which was great and really helped give me the courage to see the abseil through.
“I’m glad I overcame my fears and went through with the abseil, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing back for another go anytime soon! However, after watching me, my 21-yearold stepdaughter now fancies a go!”
Dreamflight, based in Amersham, takes seriously-ill and disabled children to Orlando for the holiday of a lifetime visiting the theme parks, to bring some fun and joy to children whose illnesses cause pain, distress and disruption to their lives.
The charity has been
Chesham Mayor Peter Hudson takes the plunge from the 170m tall Spinnaker Tower, inset operating since 1986 and has helped more than 5,000 children so far.
However, even with generous discounts from the airlines and volunteer doctors and nurses, it still costs more than £3,000 per child to experience a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Mr Hudson’s abseil has raised about £1,100 for the charity.
The previous week he raised £1,400 for the charity by organising a charity quiz night hosted by Russell Grant.
To sponsor him visit www. j u s t g i v i n g . c o m/ CheshamMayor.
To watch a video of Mr Hudson’s abseil visit www. getbucks.co.uk. THE Red Ensign was hoisted at the old County Hall to honour the country’s seafarers.
A group of Buckinghamshire’s retired seamen raised the flag to mark national Merchant Navy Day on Thursday, September 3.
County council chairman Bill Chapple was behind the initiative and was keen to honour the UK’s merchant navy.
Mr Chapple said: “We may be the furthest you can get from the sea in Buckinghamshire, but we’re an island nation and we rely on the men and women of our Merchant Navy for 90% of our imports – including half the food we eat – and I want to pay tribute to them.”
The chairman held a minute’s silence in memory of Merchant Navy seamen who died during the Second World War.
On September 3 1939 – the first day of the war – the SS Athenia was the first merchant ship to be torpedoed with the loss of 128 passengers and crew.
Among the retired Merchant Navy personnel who stood in silence were Roger Taplin, from Little Marlow, who served on the Queen Elizabeth in the 1950s, and Keith Greenway, from Aylesbury, a research officer with the Barry branch of the Merchant Navy Association.
Later in the day Keith, who has compiled an archive of the county’s Merchant Navy personnel serving in both world wars, laid a wreath to honour seafarers at the war memorial in Market Square, Aylesbury.
Other veteran seamen who watched the flagraising included Stuart Shields, from Hazlemere, with 40 years service, and Peter Smith, from Monks Risborough, who has eight years service.