Northampton pensioner set to abseil 400ft for homelessness charity

Michael Timmins, 74, was once homeless himself. he now wants to raise money for the Northampton Hope Centre.
Michael Timmins, 74, was once homeless himself. he now wants to raise money for the Northampton Hope Centre.

A 74-year-old man has vowed to abseil down the National Lift Tower to support rough sleepers.

Michael Timmins was once homeless himself and now he wants to pay it forward by fundraising for the Northampton Hope Centre.

"I've got no trouble with heights.""I've got no trouble with heights," says Michael, who wants to abseil down the 400ft tall National Lift Tower.

"I've got no trouble with heights.""I've got no trouble with heights," says Michael, who wants to abseil down the 400ft tall National Lift Tower.

He is looking for sponsorship to abseil down the 400ft tower in Northampton this summer.

Michael said: "I could do it in my sleep. I'm 74 and I go up on my own roof to change the aerial. I was up doing roofing with my father when I was 13, so I've got no trouble with heights.

"I was homeless myself a few times. My first wife and I slept rough in Northampton when she was pregnant, and there was snow on the ground up to your knees. And I slept in a coal shed in Scotland for a week once.

"It wasn't easy. You were cold, you were hungry and you had nothing to look forward to."

The Northampton Hope Centre lead an abseil event down the National Lift Tower every year.

The Northampton Hope Centre lead an abseil event down the National Lift Tower every year.

Michael must now raise a minimum of £350 to complete the abseil.

He will conquer the tower with nine other daring participants, with all proceeds going to the Northampton Hope Centre, a charity that supports rough sleepers in Northampton.

Michael said: "The Northampton Hope Centre do some very good work. You can get a good meal and they have a clothes shop for rough sleepers. I once bought some jeans there for 30p.

"I know lots of people on the streets too, who I try to help where I can. It's awful that there are young people out there too."

A spokeswoman for the Northampton Hope Centre said: "We're delighted to be holding our annual abseil event again. We hope it will give people a chance to see Northampton from a very unique point of view.

"Whether you're comfortable with heights and are looking for a challenge or have a phobia you want to conquer, we are accepting applications from any participant over 14-years-old.

"The Northampton Hope Centre provides support homeless and disadvantaged people in Northampton and all funds raised by our events will be put back into our services."

The record for oldest person to abseil down the tower is 84-years-old.

The Northampton Hope Centre's annual abseil event is on July 15. Places are still available for volunteers to take part. Contact the Northampton Hope Centre on 0845 519 9371 or visit http://www.northamptonhopecentre.org.uk/events/abseil-national-lift-tower for more information.