SUSPENDED 300ft in the air, with the wind whipping around me, one thought comes to mind: ‘What on Earth am I doing here!?’, writes defence correspondent Tom Cotterill.
I had just stepped off a narrow platform jutting out from the side of the Spinnaker Tower as I prepared to abseil down the renowned Portsmouth landmark.
All my bravado from the moments before seemed to fade away in an instant as I sat back into my harness, my feet pressed against the metal surface of the tower.
Thoughts of what could go wrong were whirling in the back of my mind; my legs were trembling slightly from the adrenaline now surging through my veins.
Then it happened: my instructor gave me the thumbs-up to begin my 100 metre descent.
Tentatively, I bounce off, dropping a couple of metres. It was exhilarating. Fear turns to excitment as a let myself rappel further and faster with each bounce.
And in about 60 seconds it was all over – I was back on terra firma, with crowds in Gunwharf Quays cheering.
My story was just one of 45 others from those who braved the death-defying heights of the Spinnaker Tower on Sunday, all in aid of charity Alabaré.
Their daring deeds helped raise about £11,000 for the cause, which supports homeless veterans in crisis.
Fundraisers from across the country took the plunge, with the cash going towards Alabaré’s Gosport Home for Veterans, Greenwich House, and its others nationwide.
Andrew Lord, Alabaré’s chief executive, was blown-away by the support, which he said was a vital lifeline for the charity.
He said: ‘This is invaluable. Our homes for veterans initiative depends on the generosity of military charities and supporters. Without them we can’t do this amazing work.
‘The veterans we work with come from a position of chaos, perhaps homelessness or rough sleeping. We help them gain support, confidence and to hopefully live a fulfilling life.’
Alabaré supports veterans from across south England working in Wiltshire, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Devon, Dorset as well as across Wales.
On any given night, the organisation’s homes can keep more than 120 veterans off the street.
As well as helping needy ex-service personnel find a place to live, the charity also helps them in getting a job and with rehabilitation.
For the fundraisers, a short moment a terror was worth it if it meant giving a needy veteran that second chance.