A GROUP of plucky volunteers conquered their fears by abseiling from the roof of the Great Western Hospital this weekend.

Among them was South Swindon MP Robert Buckland who overcame his fear of heights by making it to the bottom of the 90 ft drop in one piece.

Over Saturday and Sunday, almost 40 people completed the abseil, with the aim of raising money for two charities, Action for Children and Brighter Futures, despite the high winds on top of the hospital.

Robert admitted being very nervous before stepping over the edge but was delighted to have completed the challenge for two such worthy causes.

He said: “I’m very relieved to be on the ground but pleased to have done it.

“It was scary at the top, especially when first going out over the rail and I took a few minutes before I started heading down.

“In the end it was a case of just stepping back and putting faith in the equipment.

“I’m pleased to have done it but I won’t be rushing back to do it again.”

Over the course of the weekend, more than £7,500 has been raised by the event with the total expected to rise due to online donations still being processed. The age range of those taking part was varied, with the youngest being 13 and everyone received a medal and certificate.

“Everyone who has done this has been fantastic and it’s great so many people have got involved to raise the money,” said Robert.

“For me, when people come out like this, it is Swindon at its best.

“I’m very happy to be able to support these two causes which do so much work in Swindon and the local area.”

Those who took part in the abseil were a mixture of teams and individuals and organisers say the weekend was a huge success.

Among the organsitions who came forward were staff from the hospital itself as well as Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Shelagh Hillier, a partnership fundraiser with Action for Children, said: “The fundraising from people has been amazing.

“We have had some teams which have raised huge amounts and we are expecting that to go up even more over the next few days.

“The response of people and organisations in Swindon has been fantastic and we are very grateful for everything people have done.

“There has been a brilliant atmosphere throughout the whole weekend and people have gone to such great lengths to create all sorts of fancy dress costumes.

“It’s been a great few days and the money raised will make such a difference.”

The money raised for the Brighter Futures Fund will go towards furnishing the new children’s Emergency Department which is currently being built.

Earlier this year, the Adver launched the Making it Better appeal to help raise money for the cause.

To donate, visit the Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/GWH-ED-Appeal or text GWED50 with your amount to 70070. People can also claim gift aid at no extra cost.