Gutsy 81-year-old NGH volunteer abseils Northampton lift tower for children's ward charity fund

Daredevil, Brian, 81, bravely abseiled the National Lift Tower on Saturday morning.
Daredevil, Brian, 81, bravely abseiled the National Lift Tower on Saturday morning.

A volunteer of 22 years at Northampton General Hospital took the plunge over the weekend when he abseiled 127m to raise money for a new adolescents room on Paddington children's ward.

Retired postman-turned-volunteer Brian Hayes, 81, of Kingsthorpe, has so far raised £1,000 for a new room, planned just for teenagers to spend time in, on the Paddington Ward at Northampton General Hospital by abseiling down Northampton's National Lift Tower.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

On Saturday (June 30), Brian was cheered on by his daughter and granddaughter but he kept the abseil a secret from his wife as he didn't want to worry her.

He said: "I'm doing it for the children's ward and I've raised just over £1,000. I thought it would be something good to do. I'm 81 years old and I want a bit of excitement.

"I have been to Kenya four times but I have never done anything like this. It's a change...something different.

"I've kept it from the wife as she's such a worrier."

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

The 127-metre tall building plays host to up to 24 abseiling days each year, with anything up to 60 participants allowed to make the brave descent on each of those occasions.

Following on from Brian, 10 Paddington Ward nurses and doctors, affectionately known the 'Paddington Bears', also abseiled down the lift tower and have so far raised £3,157 between them for different causes at the hospital, including a new emergency assessment bay (EAB) on Talbot Butler cancer ward.

Lead nurse on the paediatric high dependency unit Alison Waples said: "We started fund raising back in March - with a target of £2,000 - and have received very generous donations from our families, friends and also the families of children who we have cared for on Paddington Ward.

"To date we have far exceeded our target and are well on course for being able to purchase new monitoring equipment fir the ward.

"Despite pre-abseil nerves we all enjoyed the experience and are proud we faced the challenge to help raise so much money."

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

All funds raised will be pledged towards Northamptonshire Health Charitable Fund, who is overseeing the projects, and aims to enhance patient experience beyond what the NHS can fund.

To donate or fundraise for the new teen room, contact the charity team on 01604 626927 or email the team on greenheart@ngh.nhs.uk.

Doctors and nurses also took to the lift tower to raise money for new projects at the hospital. Pictured: Alison Waples, Ane-Miren, Uriarte-Bilbao, Liane Harris, Katie Maclaverty, Christian Francis, Beccy Lemaistre, Vicky Smith, Sarah Pilling, Dr John Hewertson.

Doctors and nurses also took to the lift tower to raise money for new projects at the hospital. Pictured: Alison Waples, Ane-Miren, Uriarte-Bilbao, Liane Harris, Katie Maclaverty, Christian Francis, Beccy Lemaistre, Vicky Smith, Sarah Pilling, Dr John Hewertson.