Abseil-utely terrifying

Princes Trust


Daredevil water workers have taken fundraising to another level with a charity abseil.

Seven employees from Northumbrian Water scaled the dizzy heights of Kielder reservoir’s valve tower on Friday November 18 2011, to raise money for youth charity, the Prince’s Trust.

At 230 feet (70 metres) from its base on the reservoir floor, the valve tower is taller than Nelson’s column and as high as a 23 storey building.

The event was organised by billing services team supervisor, Louise Morris, a member of the water company’s Million Makers team. The team is one of 80 nationwide competing to raise as much money as possible for the Trust in their region.
In recent months the team have organised a variety of fundraisers, including a masquerade ball, but opted for a sky-high sponsored abseil for their latest event as team chairman, Darren Walker, has a fear of heights.

Eight members of Northumbrian Water’s senior leadership team were also “roped in” to the sponsored abseil, and took the plunge inside the tower in festive Santa costumes.

Company CEO, Heidi Mottram, was first to take on the challenge. She said: “The valve tower’s usual purpose is to release water from Kielder reservoir, so it was a fantastic opportunity to be able to freefall more than 200 feet from the top. It was an exhilarating experience and a great team effort.”

Chair of Northumbrian Water’s Million Makers team, Darren Walker, who had to face his fear of heights for the challenge, said: “The worst part was going over the edge to start the abseil, but I made it to the bottom thanks to the encouragement from the Calvert Trust Kielder experts.

“I’ve come a long way to conquering my fear of heights but I’m not looking to repeat the abseil any time soon. I felt a great sense of relief once my feet were back on the ground.”

The fundraising total for the abseil currently stands at £2,500. The senior leadership team are currently ahead in the sponsorship battle with £1,780 pledged so far, but well wishers can help Million Makers in their mission by donating via their Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/h20-millionmakers.

The Prince of Wales’s charity has helped more than 600,000 young people since 1976. More than three quarters of young people The Trust helped last year moved into work, education or training. To find out more about the Million Makers challenge go to www.princestrust.org.uk/support_us/million_makers.aspx.

For more information contact Leanne Clough on 0191 301 6733.

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