78-year-old Billington grandmother braves Spinnaker Tower abseil!

Julia: 'The trap door was 6ft by 3ft - you  step over the rail and off you go.'  Plans for her 80th? 'A skydive maybe!'
Julia: 'The trap door was 6ft by 3ft - you step over the rail and off you go.' Plans for her 80th? 'A skydive maybe!'

A daring Billington grandmother with no fear of heights abseiled 100 metres down Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower, in aid of two causes close to her heart.

Julia Haviland, 78, was cheered on from far below by friends and her supportive husband, Geoff, as she completed her 12 minute descent on Sunday, August 5.

Julia half way down.

Julia half way down.

The thrill-seeking grandmother was raising money for Marie Curie Care and the St Michael and All Angels, Billington, ‘fabric fund’ (general maintenance), Julia being a proud volunteer for the cancer charity, and a hardworking church warden.

She said: “The great day dawned and I was feeling apprehensive but excited.

“It was quite a thrilling experience!

“The most scary part is letting go of the rail and relying on just a rope. The wind was blowing, too, and that shook me around a bit.

Julia in her Marie Curie fundraising outfit.

Julia in her Marie Curie fundraising outfit.

“Most people take three or four minutes, but I decided to take my time and enjoy the view of the historic dockyard, waving to my friends when I was part way down.”

Julia’s daredevil efforts have raised over £1,100 , which will be split between the two causes, and unbeknownst to the warden her whole abseil was filmed live, so as her daughters and grandchildren in Australia could watch, too!

The daring feat also took place the day before Julia and Geoff’s wedding anniversary, and the couple have lived in Billington for 23 years.

Julia added: “I was inspired by watching abseilers at Coventry Cathedral and want to thank everyone who has sponsored me, as I have gone well over my original target of around £515.”