A 90-year-old Ramsey man has abseiled 100 metres down Liverpool Anglican Cathedral in a bid to raise funds for a cancer charity close to his heart.
Alan Cope travelled on and off island with the support of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in aid of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
He was escorted on the trip by his partner Marion and friend Paul Atkinson, who also abseiled, and it is expected the final total will be in the region of £5,000.
Alan explained: ‘I wanted to undertake this challenge for a few reasons. First, to become the oldest person ever to abseil down the Cathedral and secondly, in memory of family and friends that both Marion and I have lost to the disease.
‘Roy Castle was a favourite of mine, a great performer and gentleman who I saw perform many times and The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation carries out some truly wonderful work. In fact, the island is about to re-establish a support group for this charity. Both my father and Marion’s father died of lung cancer, along with our dear friend Pauline Quitmann. It is the most common of all cancers and this charity is the only one specifically dedicated to lung cancer research which is so important.’
Media interest in Alan’s challenge saw the Liverpool Echo newspaper film his descent, while the Crown Plaza hotel in the city upgraded him to a suite when they heard of his efforts.
‘People could not have been more helpful,’ Alan added. ‘Friends and family all rallied around, Pauline’s husband gave us a large donation and we had further contributions from her friends too, so it was a real team effort.
‘We even had a surprise visit on the day as some UK friends took a train from Northampton, while another friend in Liverpool travelled by taxi and the driver gave his fare as donation. Even our youngest grandson has coughed up! Now we have to finish collecting all the sponsorship money and we will be there.
‘I can’t thank everyone enough, not to mention the number of businesses in the island which supported us, including Patricia Wild Opticians, ApeMann and Dovecote tea rooms. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the Steam Packet Company for its generous support, it has really helped.’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward added: ‘By his own admission, Alan is a fit and healthy 90-year-old who felt this was a special way to celebrate, while also raising the charity’s profile. He clearly has a sense of adventure and was so enthusiastic. We were delighted to support him on his way for such an invaluable cause.’