'˜Magnificent Seven' abseil down Spinnaker Tower in aid of charity

ONE after the other they braved the biting winds and 100m drop in aid of good causes.

Monday, 8th May 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:46 pm
From the left are Mayor of Havant Faith Ponsonby, Cllr David Ashcoft, chairman of East Hampshire, Mayor of Southampton Cathie McEwing, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth David Fuller, Mayor of Gosport Lynn Hook, Mayor of Eastleigh Des Scott and Mayor of Winchester Jane Rutter Picture: Habibur Rahman (170575-97)

With the end of their civic year in sight, seven mayors faced their fears and abseiled down the Emirates Spinnaker Tower yesterday morning.

Led by Councillor David Fuller, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, the seven mayors were cheered on by a crowd as they tackled the historic landmark.

Cllr Fuller said: ‘I feel very relieved to now be on the ground! It is not easy and more physical than you can imagine.

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‘You walk out on to the platform and the view is beautiful, but then you have got to put all of your confidence in the harness.

‘Once I got going, it really was not as bad as I thought it was going to be.

‘It was lovely to hear the cheers and support of family and friends and I was able to give them a wave as I was coming down!’

Cllr Fuller was followed by Winchester mayor Councillor Jane Rutter, Gosport mayor Councillor Lynn Hook, Eastleigh mayor Councillor Des Scott, Havant mayor Councillor Faith Ponsonby, Southampton mayor Councillor Cathie McEwing and East Hampshire’s chairman Councillor David Ashcroft – who have dubbed themselves ‘The Magnificent Seven’.

Each councillor undertook the challenge in aid of their respective charities, with Cllr Fuller abseiling in aid of the Royal Navy & Royal Marines charity, NHS Trust Oncology & Haematology and Help 4 Special Children.

The feat was inspired by veteran Spinnaker abseiler Doris Long, who remarkably completed the challenge on her 100th birthday.

Cllr Hook described it as ‘terrifying.’

She said: ‘It is a lot windier than you think at the top.

‘You have just got to keep your body straight as you go and not look down.

‘I did manage to get a stunning view of Gosport to my left as I went, so that helped me out but it was terrifying!’

Cllr Hook is raising funds for Kitbags and Berets, Gosport Street Pastors and Marvels & Meltdowns.

Despite completing the feat in her rival city, Cllr McEwing undertook the challenge in a Southampton shirt.

She said of the tower: ‘I’d have to abseil off a cruise ship to find a structure the same height in Southampton.’