90-year-old former evacuee will become oldest ever to abseil Northampton’s Lift Tower

Brian has already raised nearly £1,500 for Children with Cancer UK

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 4:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 4:06 pm
Brian will complete the abseil on Saturday (July 17).
Brian will complete the abseil on Saturday (July 17).

At 90 years old, Brian Norrey is still refusing to put his feet up and says he has caught the fundraising bug.

The kind-hearted ex-structural engineer has been raising money for charity and is known for putting others first ever since he was a 12-year-old wartime evacuee.

Some 78 years later, you could say the dad-of-three is quite literally roping himself into making a big difference again.

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Brian has always been an avid fundraiser.

This time, he is to complete a charity abseil at the 127 metre high Northampton’s National Lift Tower for Children with Cancer UK.

The grade II listed building - once built for testing lifts - is 31 metres higher than Big Ben.

So far, Brian has raised £1,435 through JustGiving - with his heart set on raising hundreds more.

He told NationalWorld: “They say as you get older you do crazy things. I suspect this is to prove to yourself that you are still as capable as you were in your youthful days.

“In my case, I appear to be proving the theory to myself, usually in a way that raises funds for well-deserving charities.

“I know the public will be generous, not because this old nut case is doing something silly, but because of the marvellous work carried out by this organisation.”

‘Always had a big heart’

At 12-years-old, Brian’s earliest involvement in raising charity money was for the British Red Cross.

He was evacuated to a poultry farm in Lancaster where he would spend his time making wooden spitfire models.

He later sold the toys off by raffle to raise money for those during the Second World War who had lost their possessions.

His granddaughter Grace Wright said: “He is probably the biggest inspiration to everyone.

“Me, personally, I’m now a structural engineer because of him.

“The whole family looks up to him, obviously he is the head of the family but it’s not because he is the eldest it’s because he’s so charitable and so giving.

“He’s got such a big heart on him, he’s hilarious and very witty.

"I feel like everyone is going to big up their grandad and say he’s amazing but everyone says he’s awesome.”

In 1980, Brian was among a pub team to parachute jump for Stoke Mandeville Hospital spinal injury appeal - from 2,500ft.

Then, in 2002, he was involved in a team effort to ski every piste in a French resort, which tallied over £1,800 for the British Heart Foundation.

His latest goodwill mission will see Brian abseil down the National Lift Tower near his home in Northampton – after the venture was postponed twice because of Covid.

The grandad-of-eight, originally from Salford, is finally taking on the challenge on July 17 at 9.30am not only for charity – but to also mark his 90th birthday.

‘Daredevil’ grandad

Grace added: “I was chatting to him about the abseil, he’s a bit nervous but he’s too proud to show it.

“I think he’s really excited to do it because it’s been put off for so long - he’s a daredevil and he’s done so much.”