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84-year-old great gran’s abseil challenge to thank hospital for husband’s care

Great gran's abseil challenge

An 84-year-old woman is going to great lengths to say thank you to staff at Southend Hospital, by abseiling 154 feet down its tower block.

Zoila Hunt, from Southend, is taking part in the annual ‘Tackle the Tower’ challenge to raise money for the Benign Urology Clinical Nurse Team, who have been giving amazing ongoing care for her husband, Peter.

She said: “The team are incredible, my husband and I are always made to feel that we are a priority and that they have all the time in the world for us. Every member of the team always shows Peter so much patience and compassion, I’m just so grateful to them for everything they do for my husband and me as his main carer.”

Not that this is the first time Zoila has taken on the tower, she had also completed the challenge back in 2016, when she was a mere 77, with her grandson, Jack, who was then aged 16.

This time she'll be showing granddaughter Sarah and son-in-law Michael, both from Norwich, the ropes, as well as the fantastic views.

Zoila said: “The charity abseil is a great chance to do something you wouldn’t normally do, I just wanted to do something exciting and give something back. I used to do a lot of swimming when I was younger, so have always been active, age shouldn’t be a barrier.

“Once you get going, it’s easy, I know I’m in safe hands and its lovely to do something so different with my family, it will be a day to remember.”

Zoila and her family have already raised an impressive £575, and you can support them on their gofundme page here: Fundraiser by Michael Smith : Southend Urology Clinical Nurse Team (

The annual abseil, held on Saturday 13 May, is now in its eighth year, and raises over £31,000 for hospital wards and departments. It is organised by Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity, and this year has almost 80 people taking part.

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