Abseil raises record amount

Ross Mathers

Glasgow University’s Bell Tower was once again the scene for the annual charity abseil, which was, this year, raising money for The Beatson Pebble Appeal.

The abseil, which took place on Sunday 12th October, saw over one hundred volunteers, the majority of which were Glasgow University students, scale the 177 feet tall tower. A breezy autumnal day provided the participants with good conditions in which to take the daring plunge while friends and family members watched below and staff from the Glasgow Climbing Centre supervised from above.

Although an exact figure has not yet been confirmed, the total raised on the day alone had already surpassed all previous years. The event organiser, Susanne Hill, was delighted with the amount raised by all of the abseil participants.

She said: “It’s been a huge success and this has beaten all previous years already. On the day, a total of £26,000 was raised and there is still more money to come in.”

Now in its seventh year, the money raised from this year’s abseil will go towards building the Beatson Translational Research Centre, which will form part of one of Europe’s biggest cancer centres: the Glasgow Centre for Cancer Research. The building, which will be based in the Garscube estate, will cost approximately £19.2 million in total and will be a Glasgow University facility.

Although the university has taken a large role in the development of the centre, it is doing so in conjunction with Cancer Research UK, the Beatson Institute and the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board.

Kirsty Craig, the University of Glasgow’s  Events and Medical Development Manager, was also in no doubt as to the success of the abseil.

She told Guardian: “It’s looking really good and people are being so generous. It makes everyone’s efforts worthwhile.”

As the person responsible for the overall fundraising campaign, which has the task of raising £10 million, she explained the work that will be done at the new centre.

She said: “Its purpose will be to translate basic scientific findings into treatment for patients with cancer. It’s the link between research and treatment.”

The Beatson Pebble Appeal estimates that forty-one people die every day in Scotland as a result of cancer. As organiser of the abseil, Susanne Hill recognises the significance of Scotland‘s health problems in relation to the success of the fundraising campaign.

She said: “I think that people will support it because, as it’s cancer, it’s close to many people’s hearts.”

Two such people are mother and daughter, Lilias and Ailsa Nichol, who took part in the abseil after having lost family members to cancer. The pair, both graduates of the University of Glasgow, together raised almost £300. After her arrival back on solid ground, Lilias described how it felt to have completed the abseil.

She said: “I feel absolutely euphoric, you get such a high coming down. I was very, very nervous but the worst part was climbing the stairs to the top.”

41-year-old Glasgow University graduate, Alan Kerr’s total of £6,500 was the most amount of money raised on the day. He explained that, when it comes to fundraising, it often helps if there is a nerve-wracking challenge involved.

He told Guardian: “I wanted to raise money and people just won’t give you any unless you offer to do something thoroughly unpleasant.”
Fourth year music student, Jenny Evans, raised over £300 along with fellow student Amanda Gregor. When asked what made her decide to take part, Jenny explained that she felt it was an opportunity worth taking.

She said: “I just think that it should be done, and it’s one of those experiences that’s worth having.”

The building of the Beatson Translational Research Centre is due to start this time next year, and with around £6 million still to raise, the Beatson Pebble Appeal has some way to go to meet its financial target. However, Kirsty Craig, who is responsible for fundraising, is certain this target can be met.

She told Guardian: “We are very confident we’ll get there.”


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