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350 Complete SOS Africa Wells Cathedral Abseil Challenge and Break Charity Fundraising Record

30 Oct 2019

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After a formidable 6 months fundraising and an unforgettable 5 days of abseiling, we are delighted to announce that our 350 brave Wells Cathedral Abseilers have raised an incredible £61,392 for SOS Africa.

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The event began on Friday 27th September with the Bishop of Bath & Wells and The Dean of Wells Cathedral the first to take on the challenge. Once they climbed the 182 steps to the top of the North West Tower and abseiled from the top of the scaffolding platform with a view of Wells and the Somerset Levels before them, they were cheered by gathering crowds which grew in number as they touched the ground to complete their challenge.

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The Bishop and Dean were followed by Wells Cathedral Staff and individuals and teams recruited from local businesses, schools and community groups, all excited to be among the first to abseil from this iconic and beautiful building dressed as their favourite children’s book characters.

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Long term SOS Africa fundraiser Johanne Moss completed the 124ft free fall abseil dressed as Toad of Toad Hall (above) from the Wind in the Willows:

“I felt a huge sense of achievement and wanted to go again just to relive the adrenaline rush! It was all over far too quickly, but I was buzzing. I went to explore Wells in my Toad attire and received many comments on my fetching costume.”

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Among the many teams entered into the event were 21 brave souls from Royal Mail. Frome Postman Barry Ellis raised an incredible £509 and loved the experience: “I amazed myself by pushing myself further than ever before. The abseiling was thrilling, the thought of benefiting the African children spurred me on.”

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SOS Africa Charity Founder Matt Crowcombe completed the abseil dressed in a chicken costume, after his partner’s favourite childhood book “Chicken Licken”:

“Whilst escorting our abseilers to the top of the tower, I had the pleasure of chatting with them and hearing their individual stories. For some this experience had been near the top of their bucket list, for others it represented one of the toughest challenges they had ever faced. It was impossible not to be inspired by their bravery and determination to make a life-changing difference to the lives of so many children!”

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As an added fundraising incentive, this year we held a special competition whereby one lucky Wells Cathedral Abseiler would be awarded with 2 flight tickets to meet the SOS Africa Children. For every additional £50 raised over their fundraising targets, abseilers were awarded an entry into the ballet to win the tickets. Today the draw was carried out by our staff and children in Elgin, South Africa and we are delighted to announce that the tickets have been won by… “Team Brownes Garden Centre.” Congratulations guys!

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By the time the final abseiler had touched down at the base of the tower on the first weekend we had already smashed the charity's previous fundraising event record. The final event total of £61,200 will fund comprehensive reading programmes for 400 disadvantaged children in South Africa. Congratulations to all 350 fundraisers who completed the abseil and a big thank you to the thousands of friends and family who have sponsored them!

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