Orbit abseil fundraiser

James abseiling down the tower, which has lots of curving red girders and a helter skelter slide going around it. It is a free-fall abseil, so the rope has taken James diagonally away from the tower as he goes down in mid-air.Today I took a big leap to raise £1070 for aniridia. I abseiled 80 metres (262 feet) down the Orbit Tower in London.

It was organised by Moorfields Eye Charity, and I was very keen to take on the challenge. As I explained on my fundraising page:

“Every year I go to the world renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital for a check-up. As well as expert doctors behind the scenes, there are brilliant teams investigating possible treatments to preserve or improve the sight of people with aniridia. I’ve met many of them and heard of the amazing progress they have made.

I’ve even provided my eyes for their experiments. I’ve seen the huge difference these medical advances make too, personally with my recent cataract surgeries and from meeting fellow patients. Now I can help financially too.”

I decided to split the proceeds between Moorfields and Aniridia Network.

To get encourage sponsorship I posted a video on social media of me ‘abseiling’ from our loft as ‘practice’!

The big day was beautifully sunny. The ArcelorMittal Orbit is the equivalent of 26 storeys high, giving stunning views across the Olympic Park, including the stadium and aquatic centre with the London skyline stretching far into the distance.

James leaning back off the platform with blue sky and skyline behind him

Moorfield fundraising officer, James and another abseiler posigI was cheered on by my family and friends, volunteers from Moorfields Eye Charity and other abseilers (including Aniridia Network member Glen Turner, who was raising money for nystagmus research). The staff at the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower and the abseil company Wire & Sky were very friendly, easing everybody’s nerves.

So with everyone’s support, I was able to nervously lean back, then step off the edge to enjoy this incredible experience. It’s known as a freefall decent because there’s no structure to follow down. I just hung in mid-air and let myself down.

James and another abseiler haning in mid air alongside the red girders of the Orbit tower

Immediately afterwards I said

“It was brilliant – a bit tense at first and then excellent fun. It was an awesome view and so quiet when hanging in mid air. Such a big thrill!”

A massive thank you to everyone who so generously sponsored me and spurred me on. In total, I raised £641 for research into aniridia at Moorfields Eye Hospital and £328 for Aniridia Network activities. This will make a big difference to many people’s lives, Thanks and congratulations as well to Glen and the others for also completing the challenge and raising so much!

If you get the chance to do this or another feat I thoroughly encourage you to go for it.

James standing at the foot of the tower, smiling with his arms raised

Celebrating victory after completing the abseil


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1 Response to Orbit abseil fundraiser

  1. Pingback: Out Of Orbit – My Charity Nystagmus Abseil! – Well Eye Never

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