400 people took part in an exclusive abseil at Arundel Castle across two days – Friday 28 and Saturday 29 September – to raise vital funds for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice. The event, which was last hosted by the charity 11 years ago, is on track to raise £120,000.
Participants ranged from supporters – old and new, corporate teams and charity Patrons, to families who have been cared for by Chestnut Tree House. The event was part of Chestnut Tree House’s 15th birthday celebrations, and made possible thanks to the support of the charity’s President, Henry Earl of Arundel.
There were many motivations for signing up to abseil 180ft down Arundel Castle’s Bake House Tower, including raising money for a worthwhile cause, overcoming a fear of heights, wanting to give something back to the charity, or simply to experience the wonder of abseiling from one of West Sussex’s most popular landmarks.
Jo Goddard, Events Fundraising Manager at Chestnut Tree House said, “It was an incredible two days and we are so grateful to everyone who took part and did such an amazing job of fundraising. There were some emotional moments over the two days as we watched people overcome fears, abseil in memory of a loved one, or simply enjoy every moment of doing something special to raise money for us in our 15th year.
“Sponsorship money is still coming in, but it looks like we’re on track to raise £120,000, which equates to more than 17 days of Chestnut Tree House’s care services – both at the hospice and in families’ own homes across Sussex and South East Hampshire.”
Sean Carter abseiled on the Friday morning and overcame his fear of heights as he wanted to thank Chestnut Tree House for caring for his son. Sean said: “Chestnut Tree House is an amazing place. My son spends time there, and I wanted to do something for him and for them.”
Each participant was asked to raise £285, which is the amount needed every hour to provide all of Chestnut Tree House’s care services. But some individuals went above and beyond, raising enough to pay for two or even three hours of care. The highest fundraiser was 31 year-old Sam Brown, a member of the Chestnut Tree House care team, who sadly passed away two weeks before the abseil took place. With the family’s support, his friend Kelly took on the challenge in his memory and over £5,000 has been donated.
Abseilers included Chestnut Tree House’s Chairman of Trustees, Derwyn Jones; 15th birthday Patrons, Matt Turner and Jason Burrill (the latter dressed at Batman); as well as the Chief Constable of Sussex Police, Giles York; the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Caroline Nicholls; and the Mayor of Peacehaven, Cllr Brian Gosling. They were joined by hundreds of brave individuals as well as a host of the charity’s corporate supporters, including teams from Willmott Dixon, Yomdel and Oceanair, as well as community groups like Arundel Rotary.
“The event would not have been possible without the generous support of Arundel Castle” said Jo Goddard. “We would like to say a special thank you to our President, Henry Earl of Arundel, for allowing us to host the abseil at such a unique venue, and all the staff for being so helpful. In addition to all our wonderful abseilers, we’d also like to thank everyone who turned up to support them, as well as our dedicated volunteers; and Epione Medic, 4th Dimension and Porter Scaffolding Ltd.”
“The money raised across the two days will make such a difference, and help us to continue caring for local life-limited children and their families”
Chestnut Tree House opened its doors on 11 November 2003 and currently provides care and support to around 300 children with life-shortening conditions and their families across Sussex and South East Hampshire, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes. The cost of providing this vital service is over £3.9 million per year, yet the hospice receives less than 6% central government funding so relies on the generosity and support of the local community to continue providing vital care to local children and families.
Find out more: http://www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/