COMPLETED IT! ‘Daredevil’ 90-year-old becomes oldest ever to abseil Northampton’s Lift Tower

The former structural engineer is hoping he will inspire more older people to take on the challenge

Monday, 19th July 2021, 4:12 pm
Updated Monday, 19th July 2021, 4:14 pm
Brian braved no hands for the top of the tower photograph. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.

A 90-year-old has become the oldest person ever to abseil down Northampton’s National Lift Tower.

Brian Norrey completed the challenge on Saturday (July 17) in front of a crowd of friends and family who had assembled to support him.

The former evacuee and structural engineer, from Capel Brampton, has always been a keen fundraiser, so decided his 90th birthday would be a good occasion to ‘do something extraordinary’ and raise money for Children with Cancer UK.

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The 90-year-old was ready for a pint as he descended. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.

Although Brian celebrated his milestone birthday in October last year, pandemic restrictions meant his challenge was postponed more than once, until this summer.

The father-of-three and Northampton West Rotary Club member, who has previously completed other daredevil activities such as parachute jumps, says this gave him multiple opportunities to build himself up to the 127-metre abseil.

Brian said: “I really do enjoy things like this a lot and once you reach this age you don’t want to feel like you are past it.

“Don’t stop doing something because you think you can’t do it, you won’t know unless you try - that’s the philosophy I work on.

Brian safely on the ground celebrating with friends and family. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.

“I wasn’t nervous as I just told myself ‘this is safe and I am in a safe position’. I couldn’t hurt myself.

“As long as you know it’s safe, you can do it.

“Also once we started looking at charity fundraising, there was no way I could back out, especially not once that first pound had been given.”

While completing the challenge - in his gardening shoes - there was one very important thing on Brian’s mind.

He added: “I got to the bottom so quickly.

“I had quite a dry mouth so I was thinking ‘I could murder a pint’.

“I shouted that out about halfway down, actually and I think one of my friends realised because he got me a bottle of water pretty quickly when I was down.”

Although Brian is honoured to hold the title of the oldest person to ever abseil the Lift Tower, he is hoping his story will inspire people older than he is to take on the challenge too.

“It was very thrilling and I’m glad I have done it now,” Brian continued.

“I am surprised I am the oldest person to have done it, I really thought older people would have given it a go.

“I’m hoping it will inspire others to do it. It will be a competition over the years.

“I want to see if someone can break 100.”

Brian has already raised more than £2,200 on his JustGiving page including generous donations from friends he ‘has not seen for 20 years’.

The online fundraiser is still live and you can donate here.