Daring Doris feels for elderly abseiler who died before challenge

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THE WORLD’S oldest abseiler has spoken of her sadness over the death of an elderly woman during a charity abseil.

Gertrude Painter, 96, was harnessed up and ready to start her descent down the side of Crawley Hospital on Saturday when she died suddenly of a suspected heart attack.

Doris Long, 98, from Hayling is world famous for her charity abseils for The Rowans Hospice and Queen Alexandra Hospital’s Rocky Appeal.

Mrs Long, who is known as Daring Doris, said: ‘It is very sad. I wonder whether she had heart trouble previously? I expect she got worked up about the abseil. My heart goes out to her family, I feel so sorry for them. And for her.’

It was Mrs Painter’s 10th charity abseil. Mrs Long said she hopes an age limit is not introduced because of the incident.

She added: ‘It should be down to the individual. As long as those taking part feel safe and healthy enough to do it let them do it. I never feel frightened, it’s exciting.’

Mrs Painter was raising money on behalf of the West Sussex Association for the charity Blind 4SIGHT.