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Students and staff raise thousands by climbing down side of huge campus building

Dozens of students and staff at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have voluntarily leapt off the side of a 100ft building for charity.

More than 40 people signed up to abseil down the side of Gateway House, raising more than £5,000 for DMU Square Mile India, the university's fund which helps improve the lives of some India's poorest people.

ABSEIL (3)

And five of them were all from the same course - Game Art. Four second-year students and their lecturer, Chris Wright, all volunteered for the vertigo-defying challenge to raise money and, with their custom-made t-shirts, raise awareness for mental health services.

ABSEIL (1)

On the ground before heading for the roof of the towering building, students Liam Pickford, Ben Fishwick, Will Everett and Josiah Cuffley-Thorne were full of confidence, glancing up at the people making their descents down the sheer wall and giving sturdy nods of appreciation.

"Yep," said Liam. "Looks easy enough; looking forward to it, should be fun."

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Up on the roof, though, under a clear blue sky with long-range views in every direction, showing off the full extent of DMU's campus, the nerves began to show.

Senior lecturer Chris was the first to descend, after being carefully strapped into his harness.

ABSEIL (2)

Stepping off the crash mat laid over the brink of the roof, he made a rapid descent, rope whizzing through his hands.

At the bottom he was wired with adrenaline.

He said: "That was great, definitely. I mean I'm scared of heights, honestly, it gets me every time. But, I've done rock climbing before, and you just focus on the wall in front of you and get yourself down."

One by one, the others made their way down. Last of the bunch was Josiah, whose distinct style was much remarked-upon by his classmates.

At the bottom, he said: "That was good fun. I'd definitely do another one. Absolutely brilliant, nerve-wracking at first but then you get into it and it feels great."

Posted on Friday 10th February 2017

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