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Thelma, 90, abseils Spinnaker Tower

Thelma, 90, abseils Spinnaker Tower in an intrepid act of bravery. She took the plunge with an 100m abseil to support Woking and Sam Beare Hospice

Intrepid pensioner Thelma Forbes is to tackle a thrilling abseil down Portsmouth’s iconic Spinnaker Tower to raise funds for her local hospice charity  – at the age of 90.

Thelma, of Woking, will make the adrenaline-fuelled 100-metre descent on Saturday, August 26th in support of Woking and Sam Beare Hospice and Wellbeing. She has already received more than £2,000 in pledges from well-wishers, smashing her initial £500 target.

Thelma is a devoted supporter of the hospice and the abseil follows a fundraising skydive she took on at the tender age of 75.

She said: “I support the hospice as much as I can as I’ve seen the good work they do and it’s very close to my heart. At the age of 90 I thought I’ve got to do something spectacular – and after a skydive, what could be better than an abseil?


“I have been to Spinnaker Tower before and walked across the glass floor. It’s an amazing place in such a lovely area, with great views. I know how high it is, but I don’t really want to think about that as it’s terrifying!

“However, it’s all in a good cause. I know my family will be there to support me when I reach the ground.”

Thelma, a former air stewardess and school support worker, has two daughters and three grown-up grandchildren. They are proud of her bravery and can-do attitude.

“They just keep asking me what I’m going to do when I’m 100!” added Thelma, who said she was considering a zip-line challenge and getting her first tattoo.

Thelma’s daughter, Janine Forbes, said: “Mum is the most determined person I know. You may think she is a meek and mild little old lady, but she has a will of iron and once she has set her sights on something, nothing can stop her!

“She is quite simply the heart of our family, and her generosity towards others is truly inspiring.”

Tony Sammut, General Manager at Spinnaker Tower, said: “At Spinnaker Tower we are all amazed and inspired by Thelma. We look forward to welcoming her to Spinnaker Tower to experience the amazing rush of descending 100 metres down our waterfront landmark in aid of a good cause.

“She will join the hundreds of people of all ages who have taken on the challenge over the years. Raising more than £500,000 for charities along the way.”

Kerry Gibb, Press Officer of Woking and Sam Beare Hospice, said this. “Sometimes you meet people in life who make such an impact on you that you never forget them. This is how we at the Hospice feel about Thelma. Her zest for life at such an incredible age is contagious. She is an absolute superstar!”

Sam Wakefield, Marketing Executive responsible for managing challenges also commented. “The money raised will go towards supporting our 20-bed hospice and our work in the community around Surrey.

“We look after around 2,000 patients a year. Although we do get some funding from the NHS, a large percentage of our income comes from legacies and from wonderful fundraisers like Thelma. Her family are so proud of her, and so are we.”

Support Thelma’s fundraiser by visiting here JustGiving page.

From April to September, guests can abseil the tower as a personal challenge, charity fundraiser or team-building exercise.

Abseiling gift vouchers are available for the ultimate present for thrill-seekers. For more information see www.spinnakertower.co.uk/events/event/abseiling