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Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association Awareness Abseil

I thought you might like to feature our abseil awareness celebrations which took place in March. We are based in Portsmouth, but provide services for the whole of South Hants, have members in the PO9 and PO10, and also provide training and school visits to schools in the area.

Last year we were one of the Mayor of Havant’s charity beneficiaries, and the event was attended by Havant Councillors, as well as EastEnders Actress, Emma Barton, and TV Presenters and Adventurers Scott Heffield and Tim Treloar from Bear Grylls Survival Academy. Photos attached – Tim Treloar, Harrison Kirk (8) who lives in Bedhampton, Emma Barton, Scott Heffield and Sebby Fyans (3), members of the UK Garrison with Max Ross (11), and Cllr Gerald Shimbart (Havant) meeting some of our families at the sarah Duffen Centre.

During Down Syndrome Awareness Weekend, 96 volunteers braved the 100m descent to abseil down the Spinnaker Tower, all hoping to raise awareness about Down syndrome as part of Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association’s awareness celebrations. Hundreds of people turned up to support the event, including Portsmouth born EastEnders Actress, Emma Barton who plays Honey Mitchell, a parent of a child with Down syndrome on the TV soap. Emma is a keen supporter of the charity, and when she heard about the awareness weekend, she was very happy to be involved. Emma said, ‘Being a girl from Portsmouth, I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to support Portsmouth DSA’s awareness celebrations. This is a cause very close to my heart.’

Adventurers Scott Heffield and Tim Treloar, TV presenters from Bear Grylls Survival School were also there to open the abseil for the charity. Scott said, ‘It was a real honour to be asked to support a charity which provides so many valuable services for children with Down syndrome in the local community. We’ve been so impressed, and would love the opportunity to work with them in the future.’

Members from the UK Garrison turned out to help with the collection and draw in the crowds. They posed for photos with members of the public in return for a small donation, and over £950 was collected.

Charity Secretary, Rebecca Fyans, helped to organise the event, and understands first-hand how beneficial the charity’s services can be. ‘When my son Sebby was born three years ago, the charity provided invaluable advice. They have been a real life-line, and I honestly don’t think Sebby would have made such good progress without their support.’

Charity Chairwoman, Rachael Ross said, ‘The weekend has been a huge success, not only generating vital funds for the charity, but also raising awareness about Down syndrome. Several prominent businesses including our charity partners Zurich, Sainsbury’s and Warner Goodman, entered teams to show their support. We have once again been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by our families, supporters and the community.’

Portsmouth DSA’s awareness abseil is expected to raise over £30,000, and all funds will be used to provide specialist services for children with Down syndrome which they wouldn’t otherwise receive. The charity which is self-funding and run by volunteers, was awarded the Points of Light Award recently by Prime Minister, David Cameron, for outstanding charity work. To find out more about Portsmouth DSA, please visit or find them on Facebook.

Posted on Wed, May 04 2016