VIDEO: Southern Co-op colleagues team up to abseil down Spinnaker Tower for charities

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IT TOOK courage and determination to step out on to the ledge near the top of a skyscraping city landmark – knowing they faced a difficult journey back down.

But that’s what 38 Southern Co-op colleagues did as they took it in turns to abseil down the Spinnaker Tower in Gunwharf to raise money for charities.

Helen Johnson, Chloe Taylor, Pete Lucas, Jane Gary and Madison Coates at the top of the Spinnaker Tower Picture: Keith Woodland (180288-32)

Helen Johnson, Chloe Taylor, Pete Lucas, Jane Gary and Madison Coates at the top of the Spinnaker Tower Picture: Keith Woodland (180288-32)

As part of the businesses’s Love Your Neighbourhood programme, colleagues across the south were invited to tackle the 93-metre drop and help local causes supported by Southern Co-op shops and funeralcare homes.

Ali Davison, who is based at Co-op Funeralcare in Waterlooville, raised £265 for Sands – the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

The 37-year-old said: ‘I worked with the Waterlooville Events Team to raise the funds because they’re my branch’s partner charity.

‘It was getting out on to the ledge which was the most difficult, and having confidence that the harness will support you. After that and as I started to make my way down I was fine, it was a scary thing to do but I’m glad we have done it.

Lesley Borton, coming to the end of the abseil Picture: Keith Woodland (180288-30)

Lesley Borton, coming to the end of the abseil Picture: Keith Woodland (180288-30)

‘It’s a great opportunity to raise money for our charities and raise awareness about all the causes we’re supporting that affect many of us daily.’

The workers all undertake different roles within the business and come from Portsmouth and further afield.

Representatives from the charities being supported, such as Naomi House and Jacksplace and the Hilsea Lido charity, turned out to cheer on the abseilers.

Jessica Hughes, community investment manager for Southern Co-op, said: ‘Our branches get the chance to partner with whichever charity they want, as long as they’re addressing one of our four key themes – green, safer, healthier and more inclusive neighbourhoods.

Two of the abseilers on the way down ''Picture: Keith Woodland (180288-12)

Two of the abseilers on the way down ''Picture: Keith Woodland (180288-12)

‘We’re hoping to raise up to £10,000 from this project, but anything we raise is good.

‘I’m so proud of everyone who has taken part, it’s a very scary thing to do, to put yourself out at such a height and to come down the tower.’

Janis Williamson, 51, who is Ali’s manager, also took on the challenge and added: ‘I’ve raised £280 for Solent Mind and I’m hugely pleased with that. I’m terrified of heights – I don’t want to say I enjoyed it, but it was kind of fun!’