Meningitis dealt a blow as fundraisers abseil down Bristol's Avon Gorge
CHARITY fundraisers from Berkeley and Dursley took to the skies to abseil 250 foot down Bristol’s Avon Gorge.
Caroline Newman, 39, of Bevington, was one of 22 abseilers who sailed down the rock face next to Brunel’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge on Saturday, October 19.
The thrillseekers were raising money for Meningitis Now, formerly Meningitis UK and the Meningitis Trust, to finance research into a vaccination for the deadly disease and provide support for those affected by meningitis.
She said it had been a fantastic experience with a great atmosphere.
Caroline explained: “It was with some trepidation to begin with, but that later turned to enjoyment as we did the practice abseil and then started down the big one.
“It was a little scary. You look from the bottom and doesn’t look so far down but from the top it does!
She managed to take the time to appreciate her surroundings even while suspended in mid-air, adding: “You got an amazing view of the Suspension Bridge and the gorge on your way down.”
Adam Ind, of Dursley, also took part in the charity abseil in celebration of his fiance’s seven-year-old daughter Isabella Troiano who contracted pneumococcal meningitis during her first Christmas aged just 17 weeks.
Isabella fortunately survived but has been left deaf in one ear and has recurring ear and chest infections which require frequent hospital appointments.
Adam’s fiancé Gemma Allen said: “Meningitis Now have been very good in offering support, advice and counselling to me and other parents who have suffered. It is an amazing charity close to my heart and Adam felt it was his time to do his bit.”
Adam, who works at Yate Supplies, was very nervous ahead of the abseil but completed it in style and has so far raised several hundred pounds.
Gemma added: “There was a great atmosphere where you could feel a real passion for the charity.
“I am extremely proud of Adam and when Isabella saw him she presented him with his own medal she'd found in her dressing up box and called him her own Super Stepdad.
"This as you can imagine, brought a tear to my eye.”
Other local abseilers included Sue Virgo, Kevin Mansell and Rose Hardwick, from Berkeley, who were fundraising in memory of Sam Virgo.
The two-year-old died from meningitis in 2008 and fundraising efforts over the past five years in Sam’s name have raised around £80,000 to tackle the deadly disease.
So far Caroline has raised £1,800, smashing her initial target of £500 and then £1,500 for meningitis research and support.
“It’s exceeded my expectations,” she said. “I’d like to say a massive thank you to the number of kind and generous people who have donated.”
To donate to Caroline’s fund, visit www.justgiving.com/Caroline-Newman13
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