Conquering The Northampton Lift Tower

Our supporters do some crazy things sometimes but recently Rachel Martin and her brother in law Lee McBride not only conquered the Northampton Lift Tower but also conquered some fears.

Anybody who lives in Northampton, or commutes in and around it, or is even a regular driver on the M1 will know of the Northampton Lift Tower. The Express Lift Tower (or Northampton Lighthouse as Terry Wogan christened it) was built for the testing of elevators, but has long since been retired, now being used for industrial testing and training … and some more recreational activities.

It is now home to The National Abseil Centre.

After the loss of the precious Mia, born sleeping late last year, Rachel and her family felt inspired to help Children Are Butterflies with an abseil down this famous local landmark, and it was last Saturday, the 30th July 2016 that found us all at the base of the Tower waiting for the call to make the trip skywards. It was an honour to be joining them at the top for this special challenge, but I was very thankful to be using the lift to come back down.

The abseil would begin at Floor 19 …. 400 feet!

What made this challenge even more admirable was in particular, Lee’s fear of heights! This was not an obvious challenge for someone in his shoes, but it was especially humbling to see him tackle this fear head on to get the job done.


At Floor 19 there was the final instructional briefing and a demonstration of the rope and abseiling tackle, how to control the descent and how to keep yourself controlled on the way down. It was then that the final kit checks were performed, straps were tightened and the realisation of what was about to happen began to dawn.

Then came the moment of no return, things went a bit quiet and bit serious when the final checks on equipment were made and preparation for the descent began. Rachel and Lee stepped onto the edge and leaned backwards. There was only one way down now…

400 feet down!

For all the preparation and build up beforehand it all seemed to over very quickly (perhaps not quickly enough for Lee if we were being completely honest!) and before long both Rachel and Lee were back safely on the ground floor and surrounded by their family and friends.

It was an honour and a pleasure to share that moment with them, and in fact the whole adventure. We are so proud that Rachel and Lee undertook such a challenge on our behalf, made even more amazing considering the personal hurdles involved.

Thank You SO much and many congratulations on such an achievement!!

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