Melton grandmother prepares to abseil down a skyscraper to raise funds for hospital

Helen Gardner is preparing to abseil 541ft down a tower to raise money for a hospital which has cared for her partner EMN-180808-162738001
Helen Gardner is preparing to abseil 541ft down a tower to raise money for a hospital which has cared for her partner EMN-180808-162738001
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A Melton grandmother who says she is too scared to climb a ladder to change a lightbulb is preparing to abseil 541ft down a skyscraper to raise money for a hospital which has cared for her partner.

Helen Gardner (53) is taking on her daunting challenge, from the top of the Broadgate Tower in London, out of gratitude to the staff at Nottingham City Hospital.

Her partner, 65-year-old Steff, has had treatment there for most of the last 11 years since being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer.

She wanted to give something back and will take on her epic abseil on Saturday August 25.

“I don’t like heights at all,” said Helen.

“In fact, I won’t even go up a ladder to change a light bulb.

“I keep visualising what it will be like up there and it does scare me but I’m just going to do it.”

It was August 2007 when Steff got his devastating diagnosis.

He had a brief spell of remission but is still having treatment to contain his disease.

Sixty per cent of the proceeds from the abseil will go to the hospital’s Maggie’s Centre, which Helen says has given her support with forms, counselling, advice and ‘lots of tea, tissues and cake’.

The remainder will go to the haematology unit where Steff has been treated by a supportive network of doctors and nurses.

The target was £541, a pound for every foot she descends from the top of the tower, but she has already raised more than £600.

Helen, who has a daughter Emma with Steff and grandchildren Christopher (4) and baby Fay, said: “I am so grateful for everything the hospital has done for Steff for so many years - they have been brilliant.”

She added: “It scares me to death just thinking about this abseil but it is nothing to what Steff has been going through – I can’t imagine what that has been like for him.”

Go online at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/ and enter Helen Gardner in the box asking for ‘search for a friend or charity’.