Arundel Abseil for Home-Start attracts thrill seekers

Thrill seekers have been quick to sign up for the Home-Start Arundel Abseil, allowing them to drop 180ft down the Bakehouse Tower at Arundel Castle.

Helen Lashwood with daughter Molly
Helen Lashwood with daughter Molly

Home-Start Arun, Worthing and Adur is joining forces with Home-Start Chichester and District, and Home-Start CHAMS (Crawley, Horsham and Mid-Sussex) for the fundraising event on Sunday, September 30.

Paramedic David Lashwood and his wife Helen were among the first to volunteer, raising money for Home-Start Arun, Worthing and Adur to celebrate its 18th anniversary.

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Helen said: “The last time I abseiled was on an adventure holiday on Drake’s Island, off Plymouth, when I was 16 years old. It was such brilliant fun, scary but absolutely exhilarating, that I’ve been hankering to do it again for the past 30-odd years.

David Lashwood with son Noah

“Once you’ve tipped over the edge, the moment when your heart’s in your mouth, you feel you’re in the special forces, whizzing down to the ground on the rope. It’s great fun.

“So when I saw the event advertised, I couldn’t wait to join in, particularly as Home-Start does such valuable work in the local area.”

Helen is a lunchtime supervisor at St Philip’s Catholic Primary School in Arundel, where her six-year-old twins Molly and Noah are pupils.

She moved to West Sussex from her native Somerset and can fully understand the need for support from a charity like Home-Start.

Gabrielle Tappin pictured in 2015 with Elliott Day, 11, making a fruit smoothie powered by cycling ks1500555-7

Helen explained: “When the twins were babies, it was tough going because I was on my own with them in Taunton for three or four days a week while David was working away in West Sussex.

“There was no Home-Start near me in Somerset to give me support and I would have welcomed it, especially when Noah and Molly were babies. I came to motherhood late and the twins are funny, lively and exhausting. I wouldn’t change a thing, of course, but sometimes I wished I could have pressed a pause button.

“I know the work Home-Start does is invaluable for families that need a helping hand, or just a bit of a breather, which is why David and I want to support them.”

Gabrielle Tapping, from Angmering, also understands the joys and tribulations of having a family, as she has three grown-up children. She has been a volunteer with Home-Start Arun, Worthing and Adur for nearly seven years and supported 20 families.

Gabrielle said: “I’ve supported Home-Start for seven years and I’ve seen how the needs of local families with young children are becoming increasingly complex and tragic, sometimes with the death of a parent.

“I hadn’t ever thought about doing an abseil but this is an opportunity of a lifetime at one of the most historic buildings in the south of England. My eldest daughter thinks I’m crazy but I want to raise funds to ensure that Home-Start can continue to support local families in need.”

Arundel Abseil is open to people aged 16 and over who can pledge to raise £250. Visit or email [email protected] for more information.

Home-Start Arun, Worthing and Adur helps families find their feet in difficult circumstances.

Bridget Richardson, manager, said: “We’re keen to make the most of this great opportunity to have fun and raise money for our valuable work in the community at the same time.”