Abseil in memory of daredevil Gertie
AN ABSEIL is to be held in memory of an inspirational woman who died moments before she was due to scale 70ft down Crawley Hospital for charity.
Gertie Painter, who was 96, died on July 28 from a suspected heart attack as she prepared to abseil down the building to raise funds for 4SIGHT (West Sussex Association for the Blind).
Paramedics battled to save her life but she died at the scene.
It would have been Gertie’s ninth abseil, which have seen her raise thousands of pounds for charities which help children with cancer and people with visual impairment.
The daredevil, who lived at Randall Schofield Court in Crossways, Three Bridges, for six years had been nominated for a Housing 21 Be Inspired Award by staff and residents at the sheltered accommodation block for her charity work, but she died before knowing she had won.
Now 4SIGHT plans to hold a special tribute abseil at Epsom Downs Racecourse – the last place Gertie abseiled for charity. – on Saturday October 13 to commemorate her achievements.
The Crawley hospital abseil event was cancelled following Gertie’s death and those who did not get a chance to abseil on the day can now complete their challenge at Epsom.
Tessa Drew, fundraising manager for the charity, said: “She loved what she did and loved raising money for charities. If people didn’t sponsor her enough she would say ‘come on – they need it a lot more than you do!’ and her ambition was to complete 10 abseils before she was 100.
“Epsom Downs Racecourse have very kindly given 4SIGHT the permission to use their beautiful Queens Grandstand, allowing those who could not take part when the last abseil was cancelled the opportunity to complete their fundraising challenge. It is also open to new participants who would like to be involved in this special day.”
Martin Pearson, chief executive of 4SIGHT, added: “The building is over 90-foot tall and will give the participants an amazing experience whilst fundraising at the same time. We hope that others will be inspired by Gertie’s passion for charity work and want to be a part of what we hope will be a fantastic event.”
Gertie started abseiling after being diagnosed with bowel cancer aged 85. She appeared in the Observer many times due to her abseiling feats.
One of her challenges saw her scale cliffs at Peacehaven and, after reaching the bottom, turn round and walk the 300 steps back to the top.
Anyone aged 14 or over can take part in the tribute abseil, and 4SIGHT said almost any condition can be catered for.
Tessa said: “We hope to be able to raise around £2,000 from the abseil to contribute to our £500,000 running costs for the charity every year. In this day and age our charity like many others are finding it increasingly difficult to meet our costs which enable us to keep providing services for blind and partially sighted people.”
Places cost £35 and sponsorship will go directly to 4SIGHT. If you raise over £150 in sponsorship you can reclaim your £35 entry fee.
For information and booking e-mail email@example.com or call 01243 838008.
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Weather for Crawley
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 18 C
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Wind direction: North west