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Why it's good to give something back

Louisa Abseils Avon GorgeLast weekend I enthusiastically took part in an abseil down the Avon Gorge to raise money for Brandon Trust. Before choosing to take part in this abseil I knew that the charity was created for people with learning difficulties. This was particularly important to me as I currently work with children and am aware of learning difficulties. I believe it’s important that children with learning difficulties receive the support and guidance necessary to help them live the life they choose.

From a young age I always had an interest in rock climbing. When I was at primary school I regularly visited local climbing centres and enjoyed the adrenaline which comes from challenging myself. Driving past the Avon Gorge I've always seen people climbing and abseiling and thought wow, I want to do that! I’ve had the same thought about many things; skydiving, abseiling, obstacle courses and so on. Then I finally had the realisation of... What’s stopping me? My own fears, doubts and excuses! After that I vowed to take on more challenges and began saying yes to more opportunities that came my way.

I also believe it's important to raise money for charities, to give something back, so others can benefit. Because of this I now try to take part in at least one charity event every year. Last year I took part in a 10,000 foot skydive to raise money for Cancer Research UK, this year I did the abseil for Brandon Trust, and will also be taking on Tough Mudder South West for the charity Help for Heroes.

The abseil was an amazing experience. First we began by taking a walk up a steep muddy footpath to the top of the gorge. Then the moment came when we reached the top. I looked down as the first person began their abseil, I could see the river moving from a great height and the beautiful forest scenery around me with the Clifton Suspension Bridge in the distance. Then it was my turn. I stepped forward to have the safety rope tied to me and the abseil rope connected to the clip around my waist. I turned to face the others watching me take the first step off the top of the cliff edge. I knelt down to reach the first ledge which Ian (the instructor) had advised me to do, however I'm quite short so had some difficulty in doing so. Eventually I was able to reach the ledge but then a piece of rock dropped from under my foot. I looked down and watched it fall to the ground below me. "I can do this!" I told myself. The adrenaline, excitement and nerves then kicked in and I leant back as far as possible and began to abseil down gradually. Ian was fantastic at guiding me down the rocks, advising me where best to put my feet. Once I reached the ground I couldn’t help but smile. Another accomplishment and a sense of pride knowing I'd raised money for such a worthy cause.

The atmosphere on the day was brilliant. Lots of people came to watch the event and it was great to be involved with such a lovely, bubbly group of people. I would definitely recommend this activity to others and encourage others to donate to Brandon Trust as it's evident their work changes lives and has a positive impact.

Louisa Paul
Charity Fundraiser

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