Local hero dons his cape again to abseil down skyscraper for Lord Mayor’s Appeal
by Andy Tong | 17th July 2019
TUNBRIDGE WELLS entertainer Brian Bissell has added another tall building to his daredevil abseiling portfolio as a charity fundraiser.
He has been clambering down buildings for more than 25 years to promote his shows and support a range of worthy causes.
Brian was President at the Insurance Institute of Royal Tunbridge Wells last year – but in another incarnation he dons superhero outfits and performs his daring deeds.
This month he has descended the exterior of the 156-metre high Barclays building at One Churchill Place in Canary Wharf, London.
He came down the 32 floors on behalf of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, A Better City For All, which support three charities – Place2Be, OnSide Youth Zones and Samaritans.
“The two youth charities are delivering groundbreaking programmes and finding solutions to some of London’s most pressing societal issues,” said Brian. “Together we can not only change people’s lives but save them.”
Place2Be provides children at 180 schools in London with access to mental health and emotional support.
OnSide Youth Zones is looking to transform communities in areas of deprivation, with five state-of-the-art centres tackling mental health, crime and employability prospects.
Meanwhile, Samaritans are rolling out ‘Wellbeing in the workplace’, a groundbreaking online programme bringing the charity’s expertise into working environments.
Brian said: “The abseil went really well, but as always it was a bit scary coming over the top off the ledge from the roof.
“There was the most amazing panoramic view of Canary Wharf and the Thames area. It’s an experience I will never forget, and by far the tallest building, at 512 feet, I’ve abseiled.
“Abseiling down the glass walls I could see my own reflection and the stunning views of the Thames area behind me – a unique experience all round.”
Brian’s first charity abseil was at Tunbridge Wells Town Hall in 1992 to promote the Mayor’s Command Performance.
“In recent years I’ve worn Superman, Batman or Spiderman outfits to add a fun element to the endeavour and hopefully attract more attention to the abseil and its fundraising purpose,” added Brian, who first took part in the Lord Mayor’s Appeal Abseil Challenge three years ago, taking on the St Lawrence Jewry in Guildhall.
The Lord Mayor, Alderman Peter Estlin, lives in Tunbridge Wells. He also tackled the Barclays skyscraper and told the Times: “‘I was absolutely thrilled to take part in The Lord Mayor’s Appeal Abseil Challenge at Barclays Canary Wharf together with over 90 other participants.
“It was a truly unforgettable experience and the event overall was a great success with over £100,000 raised so far for the appeal.
“I am also delighted that we had a fellow Tunbridge Wells resident taking part, and would like to thank Brian for all his fundraising efforts.”
To make a donation, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/brian-bissell