Rotary Forth Bridge Abseil swings past the £1 million mark

Jacqueline Lewis from team Neil Wightman abseiling for Parkinson's at the Rotary Forth Bridge Abseil.
Jacqueline Lewis from team Neil Wightman abseiling for Parkinson's at the Rotary Forth Bridge Abseil.

Sunday’s Rotary Forth Bridge Abseil, organised by the Rotary Club of South Queensferry, saw 334 people drop 165ft from the world- famous landmark in aid of good causes.

The event has grown into one of the most significant fundraisers in the district and this year topped the £1 million mark in money raised since it started 10 years ago. The principal charities to benefit this year were The Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity and Strathcarron Hospice.

A group from Team Linda abseiling for Strathcarron Hospice at the Rotary Forth Bridge Abseil.

A group from Team Linda abseiling for Strathcarron Hospice at the Rotary Forth Bridge Abseil.

Each charity is adopted for two years and spaces are also made available for supporters to abseil on behalf of many other local and national charities.

Abseilers of all ages in a range of colourful outfits descended from the bridge to the beach watched by friends and supporters. A team from Amazon in Dunfermline supporting CHAS were first down. They were followed by a team from the Rebecca Rocks fundraising group, also abseiling for CHAS.

Many abseilers chose colourful outfits. Batman descended complete with cape. A team from Kinloch Anderson abseiling for Macmillan Cancer Support all wore kilts. And the group from Craigie’s Bee Team naturally wore bee-keepers’ outfits. Good, clear weather helped the event go with a swing and the last abseilers landed safely on the beach just after 5pm.

Rotary District Governor Jo Pawley from Eyemouth, said: “This is my first visit to the abseil though I have heard a lot about it. It is a classic example of Rotary in action, involving many charities and showing immense commitment from the Queensferry club to sustain this amazing event over 10 years.”

Paul Currie, Blain Fourie and Richard Dockrell from Craigie's Bee Team abseiling for CEEP, at the Rotary Forth Bridge Abseil.

Paul Currie, Blain Fourie and Richard Dockrell from Craigie's Bee Team abseiling for CEEP, at the Rotary Forth Bridge Abseil.

Immediate Past President Sandy Mackenzie, who presented abseilers with their certificates, said: “It has been fantastic congratulating so many people. For everyone taking part, the abseil is not just a thrilling experience, but the result of many hours work raising sponsorship.

“It’s great that the Queensferry Club can use this amazing bridge, right on our doorstep, to benefit so many good causes. We are grateful to Network Rail, Balfour Beatty, the hundreds of abseilers and the people who supported them.”

Queensferry president Jim McCulloch said: “I must thank our club members and particularly Graham and the abseil team who put in so much time and effort in the months before the event.

“Thanks also to the numerous volunteer marshals who helped things run smoothly on the day. And Kirkcaldy Community Radio K107FM really kept things alive with music and commentary.”

Fiona Blair and Marie Rutherford from team Charlie's Angels abseiling from QCCC, at the Forth Bridge Rotary Abseil.

Fiona Blair and Marie Rutherford from team Charlie's Angels abseiling from QCCC, at the Forth Bridge Rotary Abseil.

Graham Clarkson, head of the organising team, said: “It’s wonderful how popular the abseil has become. The event this year raised a magnificent £120,000 and this figure will increase as further sponsorship money comes in.

“Our partners, The Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity and Strathcarron Hospice, worked hard recruiting abseilers and it is great that so many other charities were able to benefit too. We’ll confirm the date of next year’s Rotary Forth Bridge Abseil as soon as possible.”

Network Rail senior project engineer Ian Heigh, who was at the event,congratulated the Rotary Club of South Queensferry for having achieved £1 million from Forth Bridge Abseils.

He said: “Network Rail is delighted to make the bridge available to a local organisation to raise funds for so many good causes.”