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16th June 2023

Exeter to host charity abseil down College tower

A College that is over 700 years old is home to many long-standing traditions, but on 17 June Exeter College will experience a first: its first charity abseiling event. Brave volunteers, including Exeter students and staff, will abseil down the main tower at Turl St, raising money for Oxfordshire-based charity Helen and Douglas House while they do so.

Driving the initiative and working closely with Helen and Douglas House is Exeter College’s Steward, Philip Munday. He explains how Exeter became the venue for this unusual challenge: “Exeter College has supported Helen and Douglas House for many years, including as a base for sponsored runners before and after fun runs and half-marathons. The care the charity provides for terminally ill children and their families is absolutely wonderful, and crucial too, and we are always happy to welcome people at Exeter and support Helen and Douglas House however we can.

“When I heard they wanted to organise a sponsored abseil somewhere a bit unusual I immediately thought Exeter College would be ideal, with its impressive tower and beautiful setting here in the centre of Oxford. The tower is one of the tallest around and if you’ve got a head for heights the views are outstanding!”

Forty volunteers will abseil down the historic building, under the close supervision of Helen and Douglas House’s abseiling instructor. The tower is about 25 metres tall, and students and alumni may have experienced the commanding views from the top during Ascension Day celebrations, when members of College climb to the top to sing and rejoice.

The experience of climbing over the tower’s battlements and taking the first tentative steps towards the ground will no doubt feel very different! Olivia Ace, Development Administrator at Exeter College, is one of the people taking part in the abseiling. She remarks: “The work of Helen and Douglas house is invaluable, providing support for families in the darkest of times. As a mum of two I couldn’t not take the opportunity to support them. I remember abseiling at school and really enjoying it. Hopefully that’s still the case!”

You can sponsor Olivia or any of the abseiling volunteers here. The money they rise will help Helen and Douglas House provide hospice care for babies and children in and around Oxfordshire.

Philip Munday and Olivia Ace at the foot of the tower

Philip Munday and Olivia Ace at the foot of the tower

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