In April, Past Master Timothy Doyle asked for volunteers to join him for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal charity abseil of the Leadenhall Building, commonly known as The Cheesegrater. I quickly volunteered, as did Noah, Becky and Lino, friends of PM Doyle’s and thought no more about it, other than trying to raise funds for the charities. However, as the big day approached, I had an unusual sense of trepidation as I realised just how tall The Cheesegrater is. Standing at 225m, it towers above the surrounding buildings and gives spectacular views across the City and Greater London.
Friday 8th September, brought rain and high winds, not ideal for dangling from a rope whilst trying to keep your feet against a very slippery glass building. PM Doyle was first up and sent photographs proving his mission had been accomplished. I arrived and after being trussed up in harnesses, I made my way to the roof, where I met Rob my instructor. Rob told me to climb on to the scaffold structure, turn around and edge backwards until my heel was on the edge. His next words sent the butterflies going in my stomach “let go of the scaffold and lean back” he said. At that point there was no going back and I had to trust the rope. Then, out popped a photographer telling me to smile, Rob said put both thumbs up for the camera, which I dutifully did, letting go of my rope with both hands. At this point the photographer shouted, wow! you’re the only person today to do that and Rob started laughing and saying that I was mad. By now the rope is sliding through and I’m falling off the edge, while still trying to smile at the camera.
The descent went in a blur, stopping briefly to admire the view. 5 minutes later my feet were on the ground and I was exhilarated and wanting to do it again. What a great way to raise funds for charity. As I went to find the nearest pub for a well-earned drink, the organiser asked me if I would do it again next year…….never say never!
– Court Assistant Chris Broadly