Hang on there a minute

INTREPID daredevils plunged 120ft down the YMCA building in Romford for charity for the seventh consecutive year at the weekend.

Around 180 people went to great depths to help a whole host of causes locally and nationally braving the heights of the Roneo Corner hostel last Saturday and Sunday.

The event, organised by the Havering East Rotary Club, has raised in excess of �175,000 over the years and this year was yet another to be proud of.

In total 17 charities were represented and initial estimates suggest �27,000 was raised.

First Step special needs children’s charity, based in South Hornchurch, had around 20 supporters abseil this year.

Upminster ward Councillor Linda Van Den Hende, who is a trustee of the charity and also a member of Havering East Rotary Club, was one of them.

Cllr Van Den Hende, who raised around �500, said: “This is the fifth time I’ve done it. It’s scary. It’s the same every time. I’m still just as scared when I go over the edge.”

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Parent Martin Burfield, 29, of Juniper Way, Harold Wood, also raised cash for First Step for his visually-impaired daughter Ruby, aged two, who attends play sessions there.

St Francis Hospice had a group of 11 people clutch a rope to lower themselves from the YMCA roof for the event. They raised at least �3000 between them for the Havering-atte-Bower-based charity.

Among them was Clare McPartland, the newest member of the fundraising team, who abseiled in memory of her grandmother, who sadly died at the hospice after battling lung cancer.

Clare said: “The ground looked very far away from the top of the YMCA, but it was a fantastic experience, and I’m so pleased to be able to give something back to the hospice after all the kindness they showed my family.”

Others in the hospice team were Chelle Farnan, Sandra Fenton, and Jenny Garner from Romford, who despite initially feeling confident, admitted she was petrified as she began her descent.

Pensioner Alan Manning, 79, of Wykeham Avenue, Hornchurch, also took on the challenge for Apple - the Association of Prostate Patients in London. He has prostate and bowel cancer, lost his first wife to bowel cancer, and his daughter was recently treated for the illness. The father-of-three and grandfather- of-nine hoped to raise around �1,000.

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