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Abseilers raise £12K for charity

Forty-five fearless fundraisers turned out for the KM Charity Team’s summer abseil on Sunday, raising an impressive £12,000 for good causes across the county.

Abi Lewer and Georgia Hewish taking part in the KM Charity Team summer abseil (13270516)
Abi Lewer and Georgia Hewish taking part in the KM Charity Team summer abseil (13270516)

Originally scheduled to take place in March, the event had to be rescheduled for the end of June after disruption caused by high winds disrupted access to the venue, eight-storey St Thomas Place in Maidstone.

The weather played a significant role on Sunday, too, with soaring temperatures ramping up perspiration levels already stimulated by participants’ nerves.

Fundraisers of all ages took part, with the oldest being 83-year-old former Royal Marine Albert Tweddle from Sandwich, who raised £955 for the Royal Marines Charity and the RNLI.

Albert said the last time he had done an abseil was back in 1954 during his commando training.

At the other end of the age spectrum, 14-year-old Erin Stallwood from 1st Garlinge Baden Scouts in Margate was raising money to enable her to attend the World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia.

The biggest group of fundraisers and supporters also came from Thanet, with the nine-person Mission Des team cheered on by friends and supporters.

Mission Des are raising money to pay for an all-terrain wheelchair for Des Skelton, who has multiple sclerosis.

Des said: “I’m here today with all my friends and family who are doing this amazing thing for me, jumping off the side of a building, all to help me achieve my goal of getting an all-terrain wheelchair, so I can do a lot more things with my little grandchildren.

“Hopefully, with what we might earn today, we’ll be near our target.”

And the largest charity windfall was achieved by a group raising money for Down’s syndrome charity 21 Together. Alan and Megan Smith from Rainham and Vicky Wren and Darren Barton from Ashford raised £1,272 for the Maidstone-based charity.

Event organiser Dominic Comins said: “Congratulations to everybody who took part in the abseil. They all did brilliantly, and it was a real pleasure to see so many people having such a great day out raising much-needed money for so many fantastic good causes.

“Thanks also to Housing & Care 21, Maidstone Scaffolding and Specsavers for supporting the event.

“And there’s good news for anybody who is now wishing they had taken part in the event: our next charity abseil takes part on October 5. So book now to ensure you don’t miss out.”

The money was split between the good causes nominated by those taking part and the KM Charity Team’s green-travel and literacy initiatives on a 70-30 basis.

The next KM Charity Team fundraising challenge events are the Dragon Boat Race on September 22 and the Buster's Charity Fire Walk on September 29.

Watch a video of the event here:

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