Date: Saturday 20th July
Mission: Age UK Medway staff attempt to summit the O2 arena, London.
Outcome: Mission completed.
On a slightly overcast, fairly warm Saturday morning in July, a group of 13 intrepid Age UK staff and volunteers gathered at the entrance to the O2 arena in London, steeling themselves for the task ahead. They had decided to try to raise funds for our charity by being sponsored to walk up and over the iconic London landmark. After a stiff coffee, the group made their way to the training and briefing area, to be schooled in the art of putting on a rather large jumpsuit, safety harness and to be trained to use a safety device that would prevent any nasty falls to curtail the adventure.
Watched by a group of supporters, the group began to climb at 10:00hrs on the dot. Slowly and purposefully, the team set out, climbing steadily on the very strange, bouncy, surface of the dome. Steeper and steeper as the angle of the dome grew towards the summit, legs started to get tired, but onward the team pressed, out of sight of the waiting photographer, onward, to the grand viewing gallery at the summit. And what a view. The summit was reached at approximately 11:00hrs, and the team took a short break on the summit, to enjoy the 360 degree views of our capital city, before commencing the most precarious stage of the expedition…walking back down.
The angel of the domes sides dropped away at 30 degrees, making standing and walking increasing difficult, but none the less, the team pressed on, walked on and returned to base camp safely for 12:00hrs.
“It was a great experience” says John Norley, the charities CEO, “to see staff and volunteers from across the organisation, pulling together for an event which couldn’t be further removed from our everyday roles. Everyone who took part, thoroughly enjoyed the experience, it was a great morning out together and a real shared experience.”
During the climb, our online fundraising partner was able to update the group on the total funds raised. “I think the challenge of walking over the Dome really appealed to those taking part, and more importantly to those choosing to support us through sponsorship” says Simon Baker, a day service manager for the charity, and dome climber. “Before the event we were able to gain quite a few sponsors, and the sponsorship just kept coming in!” “People made incredible donations, and the team were really spurred on by the total of funds raised as it went up and up.”
A few weeks after the event, the funds from sponsorship were still coming in, but the final total raised for the event now stands at over £1000.* (as of the end of August 2013).