On Sunday 16th October, staff and students from TyneMet College and Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College along with the Head Teacher from John Spence Community High School, the Consultant Head Teacher from Marden High School, an ICT Teacher from Norham Community Technology College, a 74 year old Grandfather of a student and a surprised substitute parent, abseiled 200ft down the Vermont Hotel in Newcastle to raise money for the teenage cancer Trust Charity.

Jon Vincent, the Principal of TyneMet College, was the first person to step over the ledge and abseil down to the court yard below, he was closely followed by 50 students bravely willing to take the plunge and guide themselves carefully using only ropes to support themselves, a feat that needed full concentration and steady rope handling skills.  Everyone who took part received a huge cheer from their relatives, fellow students and the general public when they reached the ground.

Some were scared but bravely overcame their fear, others like the Uniformed Services, staff and students, abseiled down with expertise and confidence.  All of the volunteers on the day had amassed large amounts of sponsorship money which will be donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust, TyneMet's chosen charity of the year.

One of the students was unable to conquer her fear and despite support from her family and fellow students, she still felt that she just wasn't able to step over the ledge.  Not wanting to let her daughter's sponsors down, the student's mother bravely stepped in and did the abseil in her daughters place.  Everyone on the ground clapped and cheered her on as she abseiled down, although an unexpected experience the Mum said that she really enjoyed it and would do it again!

Jim Stephenson, Head Teacher at John Spence Community High School and David Stainthorpe, the Consultant Head Teacher from Marden High School, completed the abseil easily, both gliding down at the same speed, looking calm and confident on landing.  They both said that they enjoyed the experience and were pleased to be given the opportunity to support the charity and the College's efforts.  Dawn Lonsdale an ICT Teacher from Norham Community Technology College also took part, having previously thought that she was abseiling off the Tyne Bridge, Dawn was a little taken aback when she found out the venue was the 200ft Vermont Hotel, double that of the drop from the Tyne Bridge.  After a shaky start, Dawn plucked up her courage and manoeuvring the ropes like a professional lowered herself to the ground.

A  74 year old Grandfather of a student also took up the abseil challenge, very fit and healthy and full of fun, he took the ropes like a professional and lowered himself down in a blink of an eye.

Everyone who took part on the day said that they really enjoyed themselves, relatives, staff and students not abseiling, came along offering their applause and support as each person stepped over the ledge to lower themselves down.

Jon Vincent, Principal, TyneMet College, said:

"The abseil proved to be a fantastic event, not only to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, but to bring people together from a host of different back grounds, all supporting each other.  Students supported other students who they previously had not met and the local schools supported the colleges and vice versa.  Teachers and students worked together, giving each other moral support to complete the abseil challenge, which for some was the scariest feat they had ever had to perform.

An event like this goes to show, that, with the support of others, team work and focusing on an end result, individuals can reach out from their comfort zone, overcome their barriers and achieve their full potential."


Jack Cervantes, Uniformed Services Student