Thrillseekers' new heights for charity

IT was one giant leap for a team of brave volunteers as they completed a challenge of a lifetime and raised thousands for charity.

Tuesday, 24th October 2017, 7:18 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 6:18 am

A team of 14 thrill-seekers abseiled from the 165ft tall Forth Rail Bridge and raised over £3000 to transform the lives of disabled people.

The cash raised by the daredevils will go to Canine Partners, a charity that trains special assistance dogs that can pick up dropped items, load and unload washing machines, dress and undress a person and fetch help in an emergency.

Among those who bravely descended from the iconic 126-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site structure which towers over the Firth of Forth River, was Shân Monteith-Mann, a designer and Canine Partners’ puppy parent who is familiar with the bridge as she completed the challenge in 2016 with her husband.

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The mum-of-two from Edinburgh, who triumphantly completed the challenge for the second time said: “I was slightly terrified before the abseil but thrilled afterwards and I was appreciative that so many friends and family sponsored us.

“I have an emotional connection with this event as my grandfather, an RAF Squadron Leader, helped protect the bridge during the Second World War.

“Amazingly, we abseiled on 15 October 2017 - and as it happens it was on 16 October in 1939 that the first UK mainland German raid of the war took place over the Forth Rail Bridge.”

“It was an honour to take part in the abseil for Canine Partners, and of course the view from up there was incredible.”

Shân and her teammates enjoyed the spectacular views across the Firth of the Forth, Blackness Castle and the historic towns of North and South Queensferry.

Dale Gormley, Canine Partners’ Scotland community manager, added: “I’m so proud of everybody that took part and helped us raise so much money which will help us train even more of our amazing assistance dogs so that they can change even more lives.

“It was not a feat for the fainthearted and some of the participants even faced their fear of heights by taking part.

“We receive no government funding so we rely on fundraising events like this in order to raise enough money to continue our work.

“It’s a particularly special year for us as we have been celebrating 10 years of transforming lives in Scotland, during which time we have matched 40 assistance dogs with people with physical disabilities – more than 30 of which are still in action today.”

The challenge was organised by health charity, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotlandto raise money and awareness for charity.