Dropping down, raising funds
The latest fundraising event on the Haven calendar happened on the May Bank Holiday weekend (May 27-29). To raise money in aid of the Ipswich Hospital Charity, Lara Robinson and Liam Harewood abseiled down Ipswich Hospital’s 9-floor Maternity Block.
That’s, gulp, 120 feet (36.5 metres) from top to bottom of the town’s ninth tallest building!
Before the big drop, Liam and Lara joined different groups and had a 20-minute briefing when they put on the safety gear and practised at ground level. Lara has abseiled before – on small walls, while on various holidays – so already knew the basics and felt quite confident.
Liam, on the other hand, admitted to being scared of heights and said “I don’t know how I’ll be able to do this.” After taking the lift to the roof, he was able to admire the wonderful view – made better by a fine, clear day – that took in Felixstowe docks, the BT building at Martlesham, the sugar beet factory in Sproughton, and the rest of Ipswich.
Things got hairier once Liam looked over the edge: “That’s when it got to me; I couldn’t believe how much I was shaking – it really did scare me.”
For Lara, the weather wasn’t quite so kind: “Just before my abseil, there was a thunderstorm so everyone had to evacuate the roof! Luckily, after a short delay, the weather cleared and it became warmer again – Lara’s abseil was back on.
Conquering nerves… feeling proud
To find the resolve to complete the abseil, Liam drew on the support of his partner, two boys, other family members and friends. They were among a 100-strong crowd on the ground cheering and encouraging all of the abseil volunteers.
The Ipswich Hospital Charity, which helps provide equipment and support to staff and patients, also inspired Liam. This is because one of his sons – Leo – has visited and stayed over at the hospital many times in the past two years, due to his on-going battle with liver cancer.
Leo’s ability to conquer his own fears during these difficult periods definitely spurred Liam on as he came down the side of the building. At one point, Leo even shouted out “Well done, Daddy!” and, as Liam says, “It was an amazing sound to hear at that time.”
After completing her drop, Lara said “I love raising as much money as I can for charity and I felt this was a perfect opportunity. It’s a good cause because you never know when you, or a loved one, will need to use these services and benefit from the money raised.”
Afterwards, Liam said “I was really proud that I’d completed it – and happy to be back on the ground! At the same time, I wanted to do it again.”
One more time?
Strangely enough, he got his wish. After Liam had completed his abseil, his 9-year old son, Jayden, asked if he could do it too. Understandably, Liam replied “Maybe next year; I think you’re a bit small.”
However, one of the abseiling team heard him and said “We’ve had a 7-year old do it before!” Throughout the day, Liam’s son kept reminding his Dad of what the man had said. Eventually, Liam messaged the charity and secured two places for the next day.
Liam takes up the story: “At first, Jayden was buzzing and excited… but once he was up top and hanging off the edge, his nerves kicked in – just like mine had done! It was very emotional and I really didn’t think he would do it. I went down and completed the abseil for the second time, then headed back up to see him. He ended up doing it with one of the guys from the abseiling team.
So, a great effort from the Harewood family, as well as by Lara. Well done to you all.
You can still sponsor Lara and Liam by using these links: