Arundel Castle abseil for Home-Start raises more than £13,000

Thrill seekers from across the county took a leap of faith for charity by abseiling down the 180ft Bake House Tower at Arundel Castle.

Barnaby Lewis, the Duchess of Norfolk Georgina Fitzalan-Howard and Lucas Ely
Barnaby Lewis, the Duchess of Norfolk Georgina Fitzalan-Howard and Lucas Ely

Brave abseilers, including the Duchess of Norfolk, raised more than £13,000 for family support charity Home-Start in the organisation’s biggest fundraising event yet.

The exclusive abseil for the three Home-Start groups in West Sussex took place with the permission of Arundel Castle Trust and attracted 70 people who wanted to raise funds and help to make the best start in life for children going through tough times.

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There were couples, friends, work teams, individuals, charity volunteers, staff and trustees and even a couple dressed as Maid Marian and Robin Hood.

Family support volunteers Gabrielle Tappin and Gillian Brady

The Duchess of Norfolk is a long-standing patron of Home-Start Arun, Worthing and Adur.

As the Duchess awarded the medals on the ground, one abseiler said: “The view from the top is just amazing. The abseil was terrifying but the rope guys helped me to the ground safely. I’m so proud of myself for doing it.”

The minimum age was 16 and among the young participants were two year-11 students from Churcher’s College in Petersfield,

Barnaby Lewis and Lucas Ely, dubbed The Abseiling Boys, descended side by side.

Barnaby said: “This is such an awesome experience and one not many people will get to do, abseiling down a 900-year-old castle.”

They had turned 16 just before the event on Sunday, September 30, and were determined to take part in the charity challenge. Together, they managed to raise £800.

Lucas said: “As a family we have always supported Home-Start.

“This was a challenge I couldn’t refuse, and my friends and family have been generous with the sponsorship as 180 feet is a long way down.”

Abseilers were committed to raising a minimum of £250 sponsorship for Home-Start, to fund the basic training courses needed for a new volunteer to begin working with families in need.

Home-Start has a high demand for support services at present. One in five referrals over the last two years could not be provided with family support due to limited resources.

The money raised from the abseil will start helping the charity to support families as soon as next month.

Families need support from time to time and Home-Start can help with bereavement, mental health challenges, a parental disability or a challenging child or multiple births.

For more information, visit to donate and leave a message of support.