A call has gone out for daredevils across Paisley and Renfrewshire to swing into action as one of Scotland’s biggest fundraising events returns this summer.

Registrations have opened today (Friday 23rd February) for the Forth Bridge Abseil which is run by Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, in partnership with Network Rail and Balfour Beatty.

Taking place on Sunday, 16th June, adventure-seekers will abseil 165 feet from the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site for good causes.

Since the event launched in 2003, more than £3m has been raised for charities including Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland allowing the charity to support the 1 in 5 people across Scotland living with chest, heart and stroke conditions and Long Covid.

The abseil made a triumphant return in October last year after a hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic with 34 charities raising more than £305,000 as 600 people abseiled off the iconic landmark.

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland raised over £120,000, which is equivalent to 6,170 hours of vital one to one support to help somebody adjust after a hospital stay following a stroke, heart attack or due to a chest condition or Long Covid.

Andy Ward, from Paisley, took part in the abseil last year alongside his wife Linda after he suffered a haemorrhagic stroke in September 2023 and was left with aphasia. Told he might only recover a small percentage of his ability to communicate, Andy threw himself into his recovery with the help of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s men’s stroke peer support group in Paisley. Since then, Andy has taken part in a number of physical fundraising challenges, including walking the West Highland Way to raise money for CHSS.

Andy said: “Since having the stroke, I have pushed myself as hard as I can to recover as fully as possible.  It’s not been an easy journey, but it’s given me a determination to continue to challenge myself.”

Photo: Stroke survivors Troy Johnson and Andy Ward, form Paisley in Forth Bridge
Photo Credit: Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland

Assistant Director of Fundraising at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, Jayne Forbes said: “It is fantastic to be bringing the Forth Bridge Abseil back for 2024.

“We had an amazing response to last year’s event with hundreds of people from across the country challenging themselves to raise vital funds for charities across Scotland.

“This event is a great opportunity for CHSS to raise funds which will help us to support people living with chest, heart and stroke conditions and Long Covid. I would encourage everyone to take part and experience this truly unique fundraising challenge.”

Alan Ross, Director of Engineering and Asset Management, Network Rail said: “We’re once again delighted to support the return of the Forth Bridge Abseil run by CHSS.

“It’s always such a fun day seeing so many thrill-seekers braving the heights and facing their fears to raise a fantastic amount of money for CHSS and all the other charity partners which take part.”

Colin Hardie, Construction Superintendent at Balfour Beatty, said: “We are delighted to have joined with CHSS and Network Rail once again to open the doors to the iconic Forth Bridge.

“Since it launched over 20 years ago, the Forth Bridge Abseil event has raised millions for those living with chest, heart, and stroke conditions. We look forward to making this year’s abseil the biggest and most successful to date.”

Individuals and organisations can register their interest in taking part in June’s fundraiser by emailing FBA@chss.org.uk or at https://www.chss.org.uk/supportus/fundraise-for-us/events/forth-bridge-abseil.

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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