Hayling Island says emotional farewell to world’s oldest abseiler - Daring Doris

MOURNERS gathered to pay their respects to a world record-breaking centenarian and to commemorate her remarkable life.

Friday, 29th March 2019, 5:21 pm
Updated Friday, 29th March 2019, 5:26 pm
Record breaking Doris Long MBE

Doris Cicely Long MBE, known as Daring Doris, was born on May 18, 1914 before the start the start of the First World War and just two years after the sinking of the Titanic. 

Doris, passed away on March 2 at the age of 104 after an action-packed life bursting with adventure until the very end.

After taking up abseiling on her 85th birthday, selfless Doris spent the last 20 years of her life raising money for the Rowans Hospice.

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Record breaking Doris Long MBE

Defying her advancing years, she gained daredevil status after completing 16 abseils which culminated in her twice being crowned as the world’s oldest abseiler. Doris first took the accolade on her 100th birthday after descending the 560ft Spinnaker Tower before repeating the feat the following year. Doris had been planning to take part in an aerial wing walk but was advised against it.

In a eulogy, the Rev Michael Tristram said: ‘Doris was a marvellous example that age is just a number. She was a lady with remarkable zest who wouldn’t allow age to get in the way.’

Doris’s caring nature was first highlighted by her love of animals after establishing her own animal sanctuary which she continued to run on Hayling Island after retiring there in 1983. She became known as the person to turn to with a sick or injured animal and received an MBE in recognition for her work.

In her later years Doris’s compassion turned to her unrelenting fundraising for Rowans Hospice.

‘Doris could regularly be seen with her bucket outside Co-op,’ said Mr Tristram.

In total, Doris raised more than £15,000 for the hospice and in 2009 received a Pride of Britain Award for her efforts.

Rowans chief executive, Ruth White, said: ‘We have extremely fond memories of this wonderful lady, an inspiration to us all.’ The service also gave an insight into Doris’s sense of humour. After being widowed on three separate occasions, the last in 2007 and the first in 1946 due to injuries suffered by her husband during the war, her granddaughter came across some papers recounting her past. Then in her nineties, Doris humorously quipped: ‘Who next?’  

In keeping with Doris’s personality, she played a fundamental role in the organisation of her own funeral. Her entrance was accompanied by the theme tune from one of her favourite movies – The Sound of Music – while her committal commenced to a poignant rendition of So Long Farewell, taken from the same musical.

The hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful, was carefully chosen to reflect Doris’s passion for nature. 

She even wrote her own own farewell poem which was beautifully recited by her granddaughter, Faith.

‘To me and all, goodbye, Godbless, I’ve now gone to my eternal rest.’ read Faith.

Doris chose to retire to Hayling Island after enjoying holidaying there in the past. Fittingly, the island will now be her final resting place.