Daring descent of Spinnaker Tower by charity's supporters

ALMOST 100 brave souls dared to descend 100m down the Spinnaker Tower for a charity close to their hearts.

Monday, 21st March 2016, 6:06 am
TV stars Emma Barton from EastEnders with Tim Heffield, left, and Scott Treloar from Bear Grylls Survival School, at the Spinnaker Tower with Harrison Kirk, left, seven, and Seb Fyans, three, after Tim and Scott abseiled down the tower with other fundraisers for the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association on Saturday Picture: Steve Reid Blitz Photography

Supporters of the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association (PDSA) abseiled down the iconic landmark over the weekend, raising £20,000 in the process, ahead of World Down Syndrome Day, today.

They were cheered on by EastEnders star Emma Barton, who plays Honey Mitchell in the BBC show, mum to Janet, who has Down Syndrome.

Emma is from Portsmouth and is a patron of the charity.

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She said: ‘I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to support the PDSA on their awareness weekend.

‘This is a cause very close to my heart’.

Among those who dared to do the abseil was Nicole Nightingale, from Denmead.

Nicole, 50, was supported by her children, including Isaac, 10, who has Down Syndrome.

She said: ‘I found the top part really, really tough. I was struggling a bit to pull the rope up but as I came down it got easier.

‘I think it was pure adrenalin that kept me going and the fact that the charity is very important to us.

‘They support Isaac and have done for many years. It’s a small charity which supports 40 families.’

Two other familiar faces made easy work of the terrifying descent.

Adventurers Scott Heffield and Tim Treloar from Bear Grylls Survival School whizzed down the tower in a few minutes.

They opened the event on Saturday morning. Sea Cadets and members of the Royal Navy, plus Star Wars costumiers UK Garrison, helped with collections. Volunteer Rebecca Fyans organised the event. The 36-year-old, from Southsea, said: ‘My son Sebastian is three and I don’t think he would be as good at speech or language if it wasn’t for PDSA. It is an amazing charity.’

Rachel Ross is the charity’s chairman. She said: ‘What everyone has done is just fantastic.

‘Down Syndrome Awareness Week is one of the most important dates in our calendar.

‘It allows us to raise awareness of the charity and also Down Syndrome.

‘We’ve been blown away by the support from the community.’