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Former headteacher rises to charity abseil challenge

A former headteacher is determined to conquer her fear of heights when she abseils down an iconic London landmark to raise money for Saint Francis Hospice.
Jenny Gwinn (cropped)
Jenny Gwinn, 65, will join fellow thrill seekers as they make their way down the 80 metre high ArchelorMittal Orbit at the heart of the Olympic Park in Stratford on September 20th.

"I've been looking for a challenge for some time," said Jenny, who was head of the junior school at Chigwell Junior Independent School before she retired in 2010. 

"When I saw the abseil I thought it would be great to do something that would take me out of my comfort zone and raise money for the hospice as it does so much good in the community. 

"I am very frightened of heights, but I am determined to do it.

"I know I will feel a great sense of achievement after I have done it."

While this may her first fundraising feat for the hospice, Jenny has been volunteering with the reception team for the past five years and was recently honoured with a Long Service Award.

Jenny Gwinn
"Being on reception gives you such a great idea of the huge scope of the hospice," said Jenny (pictured).

"You get to understand what patients and visitors are going through.

"You get people calling in because they are desperately trying to help their loved ones and people who have been fundraising for the hospice."

Her husband Paul is also a Trustee at the hospice and has organised the Santathon fun run for the past six years.
Paul, who is on the board of directors at Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce in July to recognise 40 years of supporting the community.

She is now preparing for the exciting event next month by attending training sessions at Stubbers Activity Centre in Upminster.

"If I can go over the edge a few times I will know what to expect," Jenny added. 

To take part or find out more click here or contact the events team on 01708 771 427.