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Triumphant return of Tackle the Tower abseil challenge raises thousands

Two girls doing tackle the tower

Brave souls are hoping to have raised £25,000 for hospital wards and units by abseiling 154 feet down the tower block at Southend Hospital.

A mixture of 70 staff, former patients and friends and relatives of patients descended the tower block using ropes.

They were all raising money for everything from Southend A&E, Broomfield Hospital’s colposcopy unit and Basildon Hospital’s breast unit.

It is the first time the popular event – organised by Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity - has been held since 2019, due to Covid, and it is hoped it will continue to reach new heights.

Elise Fleetwood, events manager for the charity, said: “This is the magnificent seventh time we have held this event, with the previous Tackle the Towers raising an impressive £143,000. That money has made a huge difference to patient care and staff in the areas that have benefitted over that time.

“And this year has been no different, we are so grateful to everyone taking part and that people continue to support the Trust and the great work we do. It has been so great to see people in person again, which I think has only made this year’s event that more special and emotional.”

One of those taking part was Anita Barker, from Great Wakering, who abseiled for the Radiology and the cancer treatment fund at Southend Hospital.

She said: “This was a huge challenge for me as I have a fear of heights; despite this, I wanted to do something to make a difference.  My brother-in-law, Philip, was treated for cancer at Southend and sadly passed away in March 2020. My brother, Gary was also cared for during his battle with cancer, which he sadly lost in November 2020.

“My abseil was for Gary and Philip; what I conquered was small in comparison to what they went through. They’re heroes in my eyes and this is for them.”

Anna Firth, MP for Southend West, said: “It was brilliant to be able to abseil down the hospital tower! As I’m scared of heights, this was quite a challenge, and I was extremely nervous before hand. I am very pleased that I followed the advice of my colleagues not to look down!

“Of course, I was doing this abseil for a cause that I feel very passionate about – prostate cancer, which my father died of this 18 months ago. I am delighted to have raised over £2,000 from more than 50 supporters for the brilliant Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity, and I want to thank everyone who has been in touch to wish me luck with this rather unconventional way to spend a Saturday morning!”

Roz Blackboro, director of nursing, who also took part in the challenge said: “It’s been an amazing day and I really enjoyed completing my first abseil challenge. It was so well organised and great to just see so many people having fun helping raise money for areas of the Trust close to their hearts.

“I’ve been raising money for our chemotherapy units, which have taken care of my family over the years. Thank you to our charity team for organising another great event.”

The event was sponsored by construction firm ryanandwalsh, their support helps mean that every penny raised by abseilers will benefit the Trust.

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