Abseiling for Help Tom Toddle

Thomas Jenkinson
Thomas Jenkinson

A FUNDRAISER is taking on the Spinnaker Tower to back the Help Tom Toddle campaign.

Vicki Harrison is set to abseil down the Portsmouth landmark on Saturday, April 19.

After jumping out of a plane on a tandem skydive for Dreams Come True in August, 2011, and the adrenaline rush, nerves and excitement that came with that, Vicki decided this year she wanted to do something as crazy again, but was not sure what.

After speaking with a friend who is taking on the same challenge in June, she contacted Spinnaker Tower staff who told her they had some spaces for the April abseil.

So, she signed herself up to raise money for Thomas Jenkinson, whose family is trying to raise £40,000 for a life-changing operation.

“I am really excited as well as a little nervous, with the thought of hanging over the edge at such a height,” she said.

“I have never been up the tower, and have only looked at it from the ground.

“I thought about going down this weekend to view it, but thought I would just take the plunge on the day.

“There is only one way down and I will do it for Tom!

“His little face will be going down the tower with me and when I see him after his operation, when he has raised all of his funds, I will remember my crazy five minutes of madness and my impulse to book something up as a wild challenge has helped Tom to get his independence.”

Vicki believes it is important for people to step outside their comfort zone when raising money for charity.

“This one is for Tom, and his family, and I am pleased to hear they will be there on the day to see me come down.

“And if I can raise over £1,000, it has also been suggested that I may be going as Spiderman or something similar just for Tom.

“I’m really looking forward to the challenge – and if anyone would like to help me reach my target of £1,000, then please feel free to visit my just giving page.”

From day one of starting The Tall Dog, Vicki not only wanted to help others make their businesses successful, but wanted to help people on a personal level, too.

She realised a way she could do this was to raise money for local charities, knowing that what she had organised and money that had been raised would make a difference to someone’s life. It wasn’t until she actually started that she realised how hard it was to put together an event, but she wasn’t giving up as she knew that whatever was raised would make a difference.

“Seeing the smiles on people’s faces when you hand over a cheque is something special,” she said.

“You soon forget the nerves you have on the day or night when you are hosting your event and put aside the exhaustion once it is all over.

“You just jump straight on to organising the next one.”

Since The Tall Dog started in June last year, it has organised coffee mornings, a charity open day with face painting and games, a Christmas open night, networking meetings, business workshops and a silent auction.

So far, Tall Dog has raised nearly £1,500 for charities.

“It is fantastic what we have raised, but this year I wanted to do something special, something that little extra with the aim of doubling that amount,” said Vicki.

Anyone who would like to sponsor Vicki can visit www.justgiving.com/ThomasJenkinson-TheTallDog.

Alternatively, pop a donation into The Tall Dog at Apsley House, Church Hill, Midhurst.

How to get involved

Observer readers have already given an amazing response to the Help Tom Toddle campaign.

However, we still need your help.

If every reader donated just £1, we could reach the £40k target almost immediately.

There are a host of ways you can donate to Help Tom Toddle.

You can visit www.justgiving.com/teams/helptomtoddle and join the team.

You can text TOMS98 to 70070, donating anything from £1 to £1,000.

You can also drop a cheque or donation into the Observer office in Eastgate Square, Chichester, made payable to Thomas Jenkinson, in an envelope marked for the attention of Sheena Campbell.

If you have a fundraising idea or want to organise an event, you can get in touch with the family by emailing thomasjenkinsonfund@gmail.com.