The Lisburn Sub Aqua club Europa Abseil Challenge team. From left to right: Back Row - Luke Bogue, Joel Trimby, Ryan McStravick. Middle Row - Catherine Kelly, Denis Loughlin, Louise Delaney. Front Row - Vicky Brown, Steve McFerran, Dr Janet Gray (LSAC President), Eddie Matchett, holding a photo of Linda, and Karen Whiteside.
DAREDEVIL members and friends of the Lisburn Sub Aqua Club took the plunge last Saturday when they abseiled 150 feet down the Europa Hotel, Belfast in order to raise funds for the Friends of the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.
The charity abseil, which is expected to have raised approximately £I,600 for the centre, was organised by the Lisburn Sub Aqua Club Vice Chairman Eddie Matchett in honour of a family friend who sadly passed away after a battle with cancer earlier this year.
The eight team members and three friends of the club, including Club President Dr. Janet Gray, the World Disabled Water Ski Champion, bravely took on the challenge after Eddie spotted a flyer for the event in the centre the day his family friend, Linda Clayton passed away.
Eddie explained: "Linda died in the Cancer Centre on February 28 and that's where I came across the centre, as I hadn't heard of it before that. I was very impressed with the dignity and support they gave Linda and the facilities they offer."
Eddie said that 57-year-old Linda, who was married to Ronnie and has a 17-year-old son Adam, was a "very bubbly and vivacious girl". Linda worked for many years in Harmony Hill Primary School, where she is much missed by pupils and staff.
He added: "I saw a poster advertising the abseil the day that Linda died and it seemed like a good idea. I mentioned it down at the club and they were eager to help."
Despite nerves ahead of the abseil, Eddie said the event, which was managed by the Belfast Activity Centre (BAC), was "fabulous". Eddie stated: "It couldn't have been any better; the conditions, the large crowd outside and we all made it down safely. Some members are talking about doing it again in September and maybe even opening our eyes this time and looking down!
"The staff from BAC were very good, they looked after the safety of everyone and had instructors on hand; they were excellent and got us all down safely."
Eddie added: "I'm chuffed with the team. Even when I asked people to take part, a lot said 'not in a million years, but I'll sponsor you', and they did. Quite a few of the members have been touched by cancer, so they were aware of the centre and the work they do.
"Everybody was brilliant. Our three visitors did their bit and raised money and I am just chuffed with how the club buckled down and went For it and we had good craic; we all enjoyed it."