Ultra-brave couple - whose twins were stillborn - will abseil 165ft for the hospice which helped them

Matt Richardson
Matt Richardson
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A Hartlepool optometrist and his wife will tackle a 165ft abseil - to thank a hospice which supported them through their darkest hour.

Four years ago, Matt Richardson, 30, and Sarah Richardson 27, suffered the stillbirth of their twins who were conjoined and sharing organs.

Without exception, it was the most devastating time of our lives, and it has been a long and difficult journey to get to where we are now.

Matt Richardson

Matt, a senior optometrist at Specsavers in Hartlepool, said: “Without exception, it was the most devastating time of our lives, and it has been a long and difficult journey to get to where we are now.

“There have been lots of ups and downs along the way, but the support service have helped us with our progress to get to where we are now.”

The Hexham couple turned to the Adult Bereavement Service at the Tynedale Hospice at Home project, and described the help they received as invaluable.

Now both Matt and Sarah, a full-time mum to their two-year-old daughter, want to give something back to the hospice and came up with a fundraising challenge. Not only will they abseil off the Transporter Bridge at Middlesbrough on May 22, they will do it upside down.

Matt saif they wanted to “give something back to the Adult Bereavement Support Service provided by the Tynedale Hospice at Home who were invaluable to us.

“This is the first time that either of us have done anything like this, but we may go on to do further fundraising events in the future.

“The abseil is 165 feet in height, face down (hence it being termed an extreme abseil), so naturally we are rather nervous. We wanted to do something that would push the boundaries of what we felt capable of.”

The couple have not lacked for encouragement and Matt said: “We’ve had lots of support from friends, family and my work colleagues in the run-up to the event.

“Tynedale Hospice at Home is charity funded and we want to raise the money in the hope that they can continue to provide the support service that we received.”

Donations can be made in person at Specsavers Hartlepool, online at www.justgiving.com/Sarah-Matt-FGR, or by texting the code FGRX88 followed by the amount they wish to donate (maximum of £10) (e.g. FGRX88 £5) to 70070