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Gloucestershire Business News

Brave volunteers to go over the edge for local charities

More than 50 intrepid abseilers are steeling themselves for a 50-foot drop, in a bid to raise money for four popular local charities.

Organised by Allsorts, the Nelson Trust, The Door and Stroud Valleys Project (SVP) the Charity Abseil Challenge taking place on Saturday, 17 September, will see the daredevil fundraisers making the descent down the courtyard wall of the Ecotricity building at Wallbridge.

All of them are facing their fears and raising sponsorship in support of their chosen charity.

One of the abseilers is 71-year-old Jenny Cotterill, who is making the leap for Stroud Valleys Project.

Jenny has been volunteering for the community and conservation charity since she arrived in the area from Canterbury.

Jenny said: "I wanted to continue conservation work and to find out about the local environment in Stroud. I've helped in different projects such as Stratford Park, Sarah's Field in Berkeley, and Capel's Mill and Arundel Mill Pond, both great areas for wildlife.

"There's never a dull moment with a variety of tasks such as planting trees, making ponds, scything grass meadows, making a hazel windbreak, planting wildflowers and bulbs and willow weaving.

"The leaders are so welcoming and knowledgeable, the volunteers skilful and friendly, and tasks so varied and enjoyable. It's not always work though, there's time for wildlife surveys, tea and biscuits... and even learning wassailing songs!"

While Jenny is possibly the oldest abseiler taking part, others are at a different stage of life. One of The Door's supporters is just 16. She explained: "When I moved to Stroud a few years ago, I was a very shy and scared person. I started turning up to youth club and the team made me feel so welcome, and slowly guided me to grow in myself.

"Fast forward four years and I love going every week, I've even started helping with leading sessions, which I couldn't have dreamed of doing back then. I'm so thankful for how I have grown my confidence and shaped me into the more outgoing person I am today.

"If supporters can donate so The Door team can continue to help other young people like me, it would mean so much."

In contrast to The Door's teen abseiler, how does SVP's septuagenarian supporter feel about her coming leap?

"Well, friends say I'm mad to do it," says Jenny. "I did abseil once, nearly 50 years ago, and I can remember that it was scary until you start descending. I'm not feeling nervous now, but no doubt on the day, I may feel entirely different and ask myself 'why?'

"However, I've decided to do this to support such a worthy charity; a charity which cherishes local wildlife sites and encourages people to enjoy and respect these special areas."

Allsorts' fundraising and communications manager Rachael Fletcher said: "At Allsorts, we aim to make sure there are always inclusive activities for children and young people with additional needs. We provide a community where friendship and memories are made and plenty of fun is had.

We're so thankful to those who have signed up to make the leap and in doing so support our programme of activities and support groups."

Andy Jarrett, of the Nelson Trust, said: "We work with people facing complex issues around addiction and the criminal justice system. If you'd like to help us support people to find new ways of living, without addiction, please sign up to make the jump today."

The event is being made possible thanks to the generous support of three local businesses - Ecotricity, Randall and Payne, and WSP Solicitors.

There are still a few spaces left, so if you want to face your fears and go over the edge, sign up today at www.stroudabseil.org.uk 

Entry costs £20, which helps cover the cost of putting on the event.

Participants must be aged 14 years or over on Saturday 17 September 2022, and everyone who takes part is being asked to raise a minimum of £100 in sponsorship for their chosen charity.

Abseilers will receive a full information pack and support to help them on their fundraising journey.

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