Abseil dad defies fear of heights

Ian prepares for his descent
Ian prepares for his descent

A TRAGIC dad defied his fears to abseil 100ft off the side of a hospital.

Hartlepool businessman Ian Richardson, 38, has had a fear of heights since he was a small child.

When he was on holiday with his family in Paris, Ian only managed to get to the first level of the Eiffel Tower before having to come down.

But he cast aside his dread to climb down the side of the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, with a group of friends.

Ian abseiled as a tribute to the medical staff at hospitals in Newcastle which showed compassion and care in August last year and also to raise awareness of the need for people to join the organ donor list

His wife, Joanne, 40, and daughter Mya, six, died after an accident on the A1 in Newcastle in August last year when their car was hit by another vehicle travelling the wrong way on the road.

His younger daughter Ava survived the crash.

Since the tragedy, Ian, who runs a marketing and communications firm on the Queens Meadow Business Park, Hartlepool, has spent much of his time fundraising to help children who have lost loved ones.

But this latest event was not held to raise money for the Jo and Mya Memorial Fund, a charity he is forming.

Instead all funds will go to the transplant team at the Freeman Hospital.

He did it to raise awareness of the need for people to come forward as possible organ donors.

There are more than 7,000 people on the transplant list, with three people dying a daynationally.

Ian said: “I was petrified and I was abseiling down a seven-storey building. Someone told me it was 100ft high and I was climbing down the side of it on a nylon rope.”

But he added: “The staff at the Freeman are superb. They see tragedy on a daily basis. We were hoping to raise at least £5,000 from this.”

Ian explained his own fear of heights and said: “It is something I have had since I was a child. But my only thoughts were to create awareness of organ donation.”