THE iDrop at British Airways i360 in Brighton made a welcome return on Saturday in aid of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity.
The event, one of the first organised by the charity since lockdown in March, saw 23 brave participants enjoying the beautiful early morning sun to take part in the abseil from the i360, all in the name of charity.
The iDrop, operated by Wire and Sky, saw the fundraisers securely lowered, one by one, from the open pod doors 450ft above Brighton seafront, taking in the spectacular view of the city. Each one enjoyed the sweeping 360-degree views as they gently glided down to beach level to be cheered on by their supporters.
The event took place first thing in the morning on Saturday 12 September and raised over £13,000 for Rockinghorse, the local children’s charity, best known for being the official fundraising arm of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and a vital supporter of the neighbouring Trevor Mann Baby Unit.
Twelve of the participants were nurses who work at the Royal Alex, caring for children directly impacted by the charities fundraising, with the top fundraiser Laura Jack, a nurse in the High Dependency Unit, being the first to be lowered from the pod. Laura, who raised £1,500, was one of the triplets born prematurely at the Alex and cared for in the Trevor Mann Baby Unit at the hospital for the first eight weeks of their lives.
Laura decided to take part in the iDrop challenge after seeing first-hand how Rockinghorse helps the hospital, she said:
“Working on HDU you see exactly how much equipment Rockinghorse has provided us with and I wanted to support their work. It was a great experience, a bit nerve-wracking but it was amazing – I felt like Mary Poppins coming down!”
Another fundraiser taking the plunge was Mike Gartside who, like his five-year-old son Theo, was dressed as Ironman for the event. Mike, who raised £750, explained his reasons for undertaking the challenge.
“A couple of years ago Theo was really poorly and in the HDU at the Alex on the C-Pap machines donated by Rockinghorse. So, if it wasn’t for their work, he would have had to go to a hospital much further away to get treated. It’s a great cause.”
Lucy Pond, Challenge Event Manager for Rockinghorse, was really pleased to be able to get this event arranged following a difficult year, she said:
“The Coronavirus pandemic has meant that the charity has lost over £50,000 in donations since March. Many of our usual events, like marathons, have been postponed or cancelled, meaning that it’s been a real challenge to try and make up that deficit. And without being able to hold events that has proved incredibly challenging.
“This is why we are so happy to be back with the iDrop! Not only is this a wonderful experience for the participants, but it’s also really helped to boost our income. Children across Sussex continue to need our support, especially over the last few months, and we will continue to do anything we can to help them.”
And don’t worry if you missed out on this iDrop because the charity has another one planned on 15 October. Their ‘suited-hero’ themed abseil is aimed at encouraging corporate supporters to get a team from work together to take on the challenge.
With just a £50 registration fee and a minimum sponsorship of £250, it’s chance in a lifetime to get involved in this unique event. For more information or to sign up, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call Rockinghorse on: 01273 330044 or take a look at the Rockinghorse website at: www.rockinghorse.org.uk/events.