Karen and friends step over the edge to raise thousands

LEAPING OFF TALL BRIDGES for ‘fun’ is not perhaps the smartest thing in the minds of most of us – but a team of Moray bravehearts are set to do just that this weekend.

Leading the way is insideMORAY’s own Karen Cox, who was looking for something a bit different – or foolhardy perhaps – to do in this her 50th birthday year.

“When I found out the RAFBF would have spaces for a Forth Rail Bridge abseil, I jumped at the chance for a personal challenge,” Karen said, not thinking too carefully about using the words ‘jump’ and ‘abseil’ in the same sentence.

It gets worse – she also admitted a fear of bridges, Gephyophobia apparently – sounding a bit Scottish that word, probably from a misheard shout “Gerrofiadatbrigyahbam”.

Karen said: “I also have a complete phobia of edges (acrophobia) and the very natural fear of falling (basophobia) – put those three together and even getting on the bridge is a huge challenge let alone walking along it and go over the edge!

“My hubby and kids get screamed at if they venture too close to an edge – and have to walk down the middle of bridges, even Craigellachie bridge is a no-no. I won’t even stand on a chair!”

So abseiling down 165ft on the end of a rope – no problem. Well at least no problem if you manage to talk another four friends into joining you in your craziness.

Karen has convinced husband Rob, Eilidh Clark, Pam Taylor, Giles Summer and Pauline Evans to pretend that they are as mad as Karen and have always wished to be members of an SAS hit-squad.

Putting her sensible head back on for a brief moment, Karen explained: “Throughout the year I am raising for RAF Benevolent Fund and Flying Scholarships for Disabled People to celebrate my 50th birthday year.

“Both charities have made a huge difference to my life, the Fund modified my bathroom with a walk-in shower, giving me back some of my independence at home. Flying Scholarships took me away for three weeks in 2016 and taught me how to fly, whilst giving me back everything my disabilities have taken away. I gained confidence and also felt comfortable about being seen as disabled.”

The fundraising target was originally £2000 – but that was raised to £3000 thank to a huge donation that took it over the original target earlier this year. That has also been bolstered by proceeds from Karen’s Crochet creations – one hopes though that the line she will be abseiling on the end of is not one of those creations!

Last night Andrew Smart, a FSDP Trustee, said: “Any fundraising that our scholars do goes directly to our ‘Scholars’ Scholar’ campaign, which funds a scholarship for a disabled person next year.

“We are very grateful to Karen for her fundraising, although we are a little concerned that we may have ‘pushed her over the edge’ when it comes to her latest idea! We wish her all the very best on Sunday and look forward to hearing that her feet are safely back on the ground, although no doubt, it won’t be long before she’s trying to ‘reach for the sky’ again!

Anyone wishing to chip in can visit on ground level at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/wingingit – while to hear more about the bid, Karen has invited a few of her crazy friends to call in during our Wave Newsbeat with insideMORAY show on Friday evening at 6pm.