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Veteran, 90, in charity abseil

Published 08/06/2015

Harold Addy, a 90-year-old Normandy veteran, abseils from the top of the Big One rollercoaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in aid of ABF The Soldiers Charity
Harold Addy, a 90-year-old Normandy veteran, abseils from the top of the Big One rollercoaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in aid of ABF The Soldiers Charity

A 90-year-old Normandy veteran has abseiled down Blackpool's giant rollercoaster the Big One to raise charity cash for soldiers.

Harold Addie was among 40 veterans and serving soldiers who bravely took on the 235 feet challenge, in aid of ABF The Soldiers' Charity.

The volunteers harnessed up to climb to the summit of the UK's tallest rollercoaster before using ropes and winches to safely reach the ground to applause and relief all round.

Mr Addie, from Manchester, said: "I've done it twice before but I keep saying I'm not going to do it again but I keep coming back and in this weather it is great. I have enjoyed it.

"The only problem with me is climbing up 420 steps."

Mr Addie was also joined by Steve "Tankie" Allen, a 72-year-old Chelsea Pensioner and Corporal Andy Garthwaite of the Royal Lancers who lost his right arm in Afghanistan in 2010.

Cpl Garthwaite said: "I've done an abseil before but that time it was with two arms so I'm quite nervous!

"I'm doing it for a charity that I absolutely love and so I can give something back. The Soldiers' Charity is in my blood now, I don't think twice about doing things for them.

"I'm one of the lucky ones who made it back alive but the charity has been such a huge help to me and my family.

"I'm doing the abseil to support other soldiers and veterans who have yet to have help but may need it in the years to come."

The annual event, now in its third year, has seen dozens of daring participants take part and raise thousands for the charity, ABF (Army Benevolent Fund) The Soldier's Charity, which has been supporting serving and retired soldiers and their families for almost 70 years.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach managing director, Amanda Thompson OBE, said: "We hope that everyone has a fantastic day and that the event raises lots of money for such a worthy cause."

The event is being made possible with the support of Yamba UK, a Lancashire-based company who are setting up the abseil by installing the ropes, providing training and undertaking supervision.

Colonel Philip Naylor OBE, from the charity, added: "We are really grateful to Blackpool Pleasure Beach for giving us this tremendous fundraising opportunity.

"It is the third year we have been here and so far dozens of brave fundraisers have raised thousands of pounds for the charity."

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