Boxers battle nerves as abseil down Spinnaker Tower to raise thousands for Ringside trust helping injured ex-sportspeople

CITY boxers past and present abseiled 100 metres to raise more than £8,000 for a cause close to their hearts.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 5:06 pm

The 14-strong team of fundraising champions smashed their fundraising target as they scaled down the Spinnaker Tower in Gunwharf Quays on Saturday.

Jumaane Camero, Jeff Ofori, Tony Oakey, Lucy Wildheart, Matt Christie, Joel McIntyre, Larry Richards, Ashley Theophane, Ross Minter, Seb Emery, Martin Theobold, Dale Fletcher, and Leannne Harriott joined organiser Andrew Fairley in the challenge as they raised thousands of pounds for The Ringside Charitable Trust.

Andrew said: ‘It was fantastic, a really great day.

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Larry Richards as he abseils down the tower.

‘The forecast, while a little bit foreboding, turned out fine and there was sunshine.

‘Lots of nerves in anticipation but it was a superb event.’

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The Ringside Charitable Trust aims to invest in a 36-bed residential care facility for physically and mentally injured boxers, which will include a cinema room and a non alcoholic bar.

Andrew Fairley abseils down the Spinnaker Tower. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 100721-11)

Andrew said: ‘I’ve loved boxing all my life, I’ve worked within the sport, I’m a boxing author and writer.

‘It’s the only sport without facilities for caring for its former participants - it’s a heart of darkness at the centre of the sport, particularly when you consider how much money it makes, it’s morally indefensible.

‘We all feel very passionate about it and want to see the care home become a reality.’

Each of the challengers paid for the abseil so all funds raised could go directly towards helping the trust.

From left, Barry Noonan (from Ringside), Martin Theobold, Andrew Fairley, Seb Emery, the editor of Boxing News Matt Christie and Larry Richards. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 100721-07)

Andrew said: ‘We smashed our fundraising target - it was rather ambitiously set at £7,000 and we raised £8,000.

‘To see our target surpassed is really satisfying.

‘We’ve been promised another £1,000 so I think we’re likely to finish on around £9,000. We’ve had some fantastic support.’

David Birmingham, left, and Tony Oakey with his son, Franklyn, aged three. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 100721-10)

Andrew was one of six people who took on a skydive for the trust in 2019, before their fundraising programme was waylaid by the pandemic.

However, new plans are in development for future challenges.

Andrew added: ‘I’d like to say a collective thanks to the whole team. As I’ve done skydives before I’m used to dealing with heights, but none of these people had dealt with it before.

‘It’s been incredible to see people overcoming their fear and see their commitment to the charity.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

Tony Oakey, Larry Richards, Seb Emery, Lucy Wildheart, Dale Fletcher, Leanne Harriott, Ashley Theophane, Jumaane Camaro, Andrew Fairley, Martin Theobold, Ross Minter, and Jeff Ofori.

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Ross Minter. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 100721-08)