Abseiling feat by 90-year-old from Tunbridge Wells
by Andy Tong | 10th May 2019
A DAREDEVIL great-grandmother from Tunbridge Wells has abseiled down the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth to raise funds for a South-East hospice.
Tam Thompson, who turned 90 on April 20, performed the feat alongside her daughter and granddaughter – known as the ‘Generation Girls’.
The tower structure is one of the tallest in the UK outside London, standing 170 metres tall – two-and-a-half times higher than Nelson’s Column.
Tam, who has three children, seven -grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, -follows a daily routine that includes Tai Chi, Pilates, aerobics and walking her Alsatian dog.
She is oldest person ever to perform the -Spinnaker feat, having decided to take up the challenge after the death of her husband of 66 years, Michael, in January.
Her daughter, Maxine Thompson, said she has developed a taste for numerous activities and adventures in later life.
“Mum and dad met when they were 13,” said Maxine, “and up until her 60s she was quite a typical mum – looking after the family and content to stay at home. Then she suddenly took off on an Outward Bound expedition to the Lake District and hasn’t looked back since.”
Maxine had originally planned to do an abseil for the Princess Alice Hospice after her husband, Mark, died in 2014. He had been diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and was cared for by the hospice.
Princess Alice Hospice has provided free end-of-life care to tens of thousands of people across the Home Counties for more than 30 years.
Maxine has undertaken other fundraising activities since Mark’s death – including a 5k run, music gig and various cake sales.
The two women were accompanied by Maxine’s niece Megan Stapely, 31, who has previously undertaken bungee jumps for charity.
Maxine said: “We were excited and nervous to do this abseil challenge but we were keen to do something memorable to raise money for the hospice, to make a difference, and take home some incredible memories!”