Luckily, these courageous few were wearing harnesses and attached to a very secure rope system! The abseil was part of a number of events taking place for Charity Week.
The man with the job of sorting all these exciting events is Jibran Khalil of the ISOC society at Leeds Met. He told us: “Charity week is a week dedicated to raise awareness and funds for orphans around the world that desperately need our support.”
It is an annual effort of students around the UK, ISocs in particular, started with the thought of unity in mind. With the aid of this week, charity is collected and sent around the world to benefit as many children as possible irrespective of any man made barriers.
“A cause this big needs an equally big platform to be showcased through. This is why Leeds Met Isoc arranged a charity abseil this year. Not only did it reach out and bring in a diverse group of people spreading the cause but it also started off the week with a big bang of positivity which we hope to continue on through the coming days,” he added.Throughout the day we had a couple of our very own Met Online Editors helping out at the event. News Editor, Aaqib Javed, was there (although we couldn’t persuade him to take the drop!) and Culture Editor, Erik Selby, who spent the day live blogging the event.
I had one of the later slots in the day which meant I had a lovely long wait before I was strapped in to the harness (yes, I did check it time and time again to make sure I wouldn’t fall out). I heard many screams and girly shrieks as people descended the building, the best one being when a pigeon flew past a terrified lady when she was halfway down.
A huge proportion of the abseilers had taken what seemed like a lifetime to get to the bottom, meaning I felt I had to just get on with it – especially with Met TV cameramen filming my every (ladylike) move. I decided the best way to tackle the ‘jump’ was to NOT LOOK DOWN. A trick that worked! For the first time in my life I concentrated on the pattern of the side of the building as if it was as exciting as an episode of Desperate Housewives, resulting in me not having a clue of the distance that was between me and solid ground.The worst bit, as anyone will tell you, is going over the edge. However, the instructors were fantastic in keeping people calm and explaining things clearly; something very important as they ask you to straddle the edge of the building and throw your leg over the side. One of our Met TV cameramen, Gavin Coote, said: “It was certainly a thrill in itself, standing up on the top of the building pointing the camera and all those petrified faces. I kind of really wished I was out there too, bouncing down the side of the building. But overall it was a great day, for a great cause…with great views!”.
Once you get going it’s much less frightening – again, if you don’t look down – and my only problem was that I wanted to go faster! Inevitably, when I got the the bottom and it was all over, I wanted to do it again.
The ISOC managed to raise over £1000 for charity from the abseil alone and are set to make plenty more over the rest of the week. And at the same time as raising money, they managed to get a big group of people to face their fear of heights!
To see pictures, videos, interviews and more, visit Erik’s live blog here.