Daredevil great-grans abseil 60ft down the side of Basingstoke hospital

Basingstoke Gazette: Doris is all smiles as she takes on the charity feat Buy this photo » Doris is all smiles as she takes on the charity feat

THEY must be among the bravest octogenarians in the country.

Dorothy Peace, 89, and Doris Hackett, 82, abseiled 60ft down the side of Basingstoke hospital – despite driving rain and freezing cold temperatures.

The daredevil great-grans were among a group of 59 people who took on the six-storey descent to raise money for Shopmobility, the Basingstoke charity that provides mobility scooters for those less able to walk.

It was Doris, a grandmother-of-eight, from Water End Park, near Old Basing, who swung her leg over the edge first. Wearing a double harness, she made light work of the abseil, completing it in less than three minutes.

Afterwards, she said: “Getting over the edge and getting your foot down on the first ledge was the worst bit. But once I did that and did not look down, I knew I would be all right.

“At my age, you have to try everything once but I do not have to do it again.”

Her friend Dorothy, a retired post lady of Oaklands Park, Hook Common, took a little slip at the start of her abseil, but recovered to reach the bottom.

The great-grandmother-of-one said: “I put my foot down to try to reach the ledge and it was swinging and it felt as if it was going to give way. I think my shoes were a bit slippery. But after that I got going.

“I was not that nervous this morning. I could not really believe I was going to do it until I got here.”

Among the others to take part were Kyle Lafferty, 15, and his 11-year-old sister Kaitlin, who did the challenge in memory of their grandmother Maggie Fuller. The 72-year-old, from South Ham, Basingstoke, had planned to do the abseil but sadly died on September 3 last year.

The youngest participant was Catherine Edwards, the 11-year-old daughter of Felicity Edwards, managing director of Destination Basingstoke.

The event, which took place last Sunday, raised more than £3,000 for Shopmobility.

Shopmobility manager Anne Blackmore said: “It has gone really well, apart from the weather. But it has not stopped people from taking part and we had only one person pull out.

“We have had some people who have been terrified but it has been an opportunity to be a daredevil and raise some money.”

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