Albion legend braves city heights for hospice’s anniversary

Brendan Batson abseils for Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.

Former West Bromwich Albion defender, Brendon Batson, has shown that he has a head for heights after abseiling 80ft to support a local hospice.

The footballing legend joined 27 business professionals to take on The Big Drop – a corporate charity abseil organised by Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.

Plucky city workers and Brendon sailed down Birmingham’s iconic Wesleyan building on Saturday 21st September, in a bid to raise vital funds for the Hospice during its 40th anniversary year.

So far, the thrill-seekers have raised over £6,400 for the charity, helping to provide vital care to people and their loved ones who are living with life-limiting illness across Birmingham and Sandwell.

Brendon, who played for the Black Country club from 1978 to 1984, became a patron of the Hospice after its doctors and nurses cared for his wife Cecily in 2009. he said: “I will always be grateful to Birmingham St Mary’s for the care and support they gave Cecily and our family. They were a guiding light through a dark and difficult time.”

The much-loved Baggies star has done plenty of fundraising for the charity over the past decade but this is the first time he has ever attempted an abseil.

He added: “My fundraising usually involves cycling, so it was great to take on an adrenaline challenge for the charity. It’s a great feeling going over the top and has left me keen to do a skydive next.

“I’m really proud to have done a challenge like this during the Hospice’s 40th anniversary year. Hopefully, it will help more people find out about the vital work they do and the difference they can make.”

Taking on the abseil with Brendon were professionals from the city’s corporate sector, including Wesleyan, Applause IT and AECOM.

Charlotte Dowling, corporate and community fundraising manager at the Hospice, said: “Abseiling 80ft in Birmingham city centre is no easy challenge so a huge well done to Brendon and our courageous corporate supporters for taking this on during our special 40th anniversary year. This year, we need to raise £9 million to ensure we can continue to care for local people wherever and whenever they need it – 64 per cent of which must come from generous voluntary donations – so we really do rely on corporate challenges like this to help fund our crucial care.”

When the Hospice first opened in 1979, it could care for 25 people on any given day. Four decades later, the Hospice is supporting over 400 people every day, providing care in people’s homes, in the community, at its Day Hospice facility and at the Hospice’s Inpatient Unit.

As part of its 40th celebration, the Hospice is hosting a second anniversary-themed abseil on Saturday 12th October at the Custard Factory. To find out more about The Big Drop or to book your place, visit: here