AT the vibrant age of 80, a thrill seeking grandma from Saltash decided to mark her milestone birthday this month in an extraordinary way whilst raising money for ShelterBox.

Anne Nicholas headed to the Eden Project earlier on February 14 to embark on England’s fastest zipline at the Eden Project where she soared head first over the iconic biomes.

Reaching speeds of up to 60mph and flying 96 meters high, Anne embraced the adrenaline filled challenge, saying: “I have been super eager to ride the zip wire for many years and wanted to celebrate my 80th birthday with a bang.

“It presented the perfect opportunity to finally get around to doing it.”

Unphased by the height and speed of the zip wire, Anne’s only fear was the activity being called off due to bad weather.  

Anne continued: “I was nervous that the weather might not permit us to take the ride, but luckily, despite a drizzly morning, it cleared when it was my turn, and I was able to see the view. It was great fun and not frightening at all. Mission accomplished! 

The zipline spanning a whopping 600 meters long draws in thousands of people every year to Cornwall’s iconic eco centre.

Zippers can travel on the ride with a friend or family member as there are two parallel high wires zooming see by side.

“It made it even more special to have my family with me on the day and two of my children and one of my grandsons took the ride with me. Three generations flying together for a good cause!”   

The funds raised from her zipping adventure are in support of ShelterBox’s mission to aid people worldwide who have lost their homes due to conflict or disaster.

“I also had the idea that for my special birthday, I should give something back. I’ve known about ShelterBox and the work it does around the world for some time as my local church group has held fundraisers for the charity before”, Anne explained.

“But this is my first-time fundraising solo.

“I’ve had a wonderful amount of support from the community. As an active member of several community groups and the local sports centre where I attend fitness sessions every week, I have a good network supporting me. 

“I’m pleased to have been able to help out in a little way and play my part in helping people in terrible situations who have lost their homes and belongings.” 

Looking ahead, Anne’s adventurous spirit shows no sign of slowing down. While her daughter suggested she tackle the world’s fastest zip wire in Wales for he 81st, Anne replied with: “But I’ve decided I shall leave that to my 90th!”

Anne’s dedication to her cause has gathered a huge amount of community support, including her grandson, James, who donated his pocket money to her JustGivingPage - proudly declaring ‘go grandma - so proud of you’.

So far, Anne’s JustGivingPage has raised £525 – £25 over the original fundraising target of £500.

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and other essential items, like water filters, blankets, kitchen equipment and solar lights to people around the world. It’s teams listen to the needs of communities, tailoring each response to ensure people are being supported with items that will make a tangible difference to their lives.    The Cornwall-based charity has supported over two million people across around 100 countries since it was founded in 2000.  The charity also has 13 affiliate organisations worldwide and has been Rotary International’s project partner in disaster relief since 2012.   Community engagement officer from ShelterBox, John Stanbury, commented: “The zip wire is a mean feat for anyone, and we’re so impressed with Anne’s daredevil nature!

“It’s an honour to be selected as Anne's charity of choice for her 80th birthday fundraiser.      “We rely on public donations, and it is supporters like Anne who help us raise awareness of the issues people are facing around the world, and critical funds for us to continue to support communities.”    ShelterBox has launched an urgent appeal to fund its response in Gaza. The charity is working alongside Medical Aid of Palestinians (MAP) to get emergency aid to thousands of people who have lost their homes in the conflict.

It is reported that there are currently up to 1.9-million people or 85% of the population who are displaced and without homes across Gaza.

ShelterBox is currently helping to provide items such as tarpaulins and rope to help make shelters as well as blankets, mattresses, pillows and floormats to help people in need stay warm.

ShelterBox is also providing washing sets, water carriers, kitchen sets, and items like nappies, toothbrushes, and sanitary items.

The items are sourced from Egypt and Türkiye via ShelterBox’s partnership with MAP.

ShelterBox is also responding to crises in Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia and Mozambique. 

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