Retired bus driver completes Spinnaker abseil for charity

Ann Reeves, centre, surrounded by families at the release of Gosport Independent Panel's report into deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital yesterday. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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AN 82-YEAR-OLD man completed the Spinnaker Tower abseil to raise money for those suffering from Parkinson’s.

Retired bus driver George Betteridge, from North End, took on the challenge on in memory of his wife Pauline who died seven months ago after suffering from dementia for two years.

To make his descent even more memorable, the 82-year-old purchased a pair of fairy wings from a costume shop and had the words ‘For wife Pauline’ printed in luminous yellow on one wing, and ‘and all others’ on the other.

Although the t-shirt he wore was supporting the trust he said: ‘The wings would have brought a smile to my wife’s face’.

The trip down the outside of the tower did not go entirely smoothly.

George said: ‘I was about halfway down, and then the rope twisted.

It was scary because I was suddenly facing away from the tower, not knowing how to turn back; everyone was shouting at me to turn back around’.

Luckily he was able to re-correct his course and complete his descent with no further problems.

To commemorate his wife and raise money for Parkinson’s UK, George went round to collect donations before his abseil and raised £400.

He thanked everyone who donated to the cause, calling them ‘wonderful, and everything has gone to a brilliant charity’.

The artist previously created a model 1:120 ratio Spinnaker Tower out of matchsticks, which now resides in Portsmouth’s model village.