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Abseilers assemble!

19 May 2015


Over 60 intrepid local people tackled the tower at Southend University Hospital by abseiling 154 feet down tower block to raise money for a ward, department or hospital charity of their choice.

Captain America, otherwise known as Terry Anderson, 56, from Southchurch village, was raising money for Bedwell ward, a cancer ward, in memory of his late friend Gerry Splarn.

He said: "I've not been in the area long and wanted to be a part of something that brought the local community together."

Mother and daughter, Tracey Meddle, 53, and Tamsin Meddle, 30, were Batman and Robin respectively. They didn't hail from Gotham but closer to home in Stambridge, the dynamically dressed duo were raising money for the Keyhole Cancer Appeal in memory of Bob Finch, Tracey's dad and Tamsin's grandfather.

Tracey, by day a student wellbeing manager at Belfairs, may have looked the part of The Dark Knight but confessed she was less happy about The Dark Knight rising as she was afraid of heights, whilst Tamsin said: "I probably should have been Spider-Man as I work in nuclear medicine at the hospital."

After the descent, which they both completed together, Tamsin added: "It was a really exciting adrenalin rush and a fantastic experience."

Meanwhile, Supergirl flew in from Wickford to take part, in the guise of 24 year old Stephanie Eaton. And Stephanie's superhero outfit really was befitting as she explained: "My mum calls me Supergirl as last year I had three life-saving operations here at the hospital. None of my operations were able to be done with keyhole surgery but I know what a real benefit it can bring to patients, so I am raising money for the Keyhole Cancer Appeal. I've not done something like this before but just wanted to give something back."

Stephanie has already raised an impressive £1,400 for her abseil and her abseiling action is even more impressive as she had to get special permission from her surgeon to complete the challenge as she has one more operation to go.

But you didn't have to have a cape to be a superhero at the tackle the tower abseil. Sheila Fenner, 72, from Southend is a community first responder in Thorpe Bay and was tackling the tower to raise money for Westcliff ward who looked after her husband before he sadly passed away. Sheila was not fazed by the 10 storey abseil, she said: "I have abseiled before down the Argos building in town, but that wasn't as tall as this. Friends and family think I'm mad and need a brain transplant but I've raised nearly £350."

Lucy Thomas-Clayton, associate director of community engagement, said: "Many people taking on the 10-storey abseil have their own personal stories relating to a ward, department or appeal that either they or a loved one have benefitted from and it is always amazing to see the dedication and passion of people like Terry, Tracey, Tamsin, Stephanie and Sheila, as well as everyone else who took part, supporting Southend Hospital."

This is the second time local people have taken on the tackle the tower experience and it is set to return next year, if you are interested in taking part contact fundraising@southend.nhs.uk .