Daredevil South Downs pensioner, 87, in 320ft abseil

Daredevil pensioner Stuart Morris loves a challenge - and just to prove it, the 87-year-old has just abseiled 320ft down Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower.

“It was great fun,” said Stuart, who lives in West Chiltington. “Everyone had a big smile on their face when they completed it. I enjoyed it so much, I’ve even inspired my neighbour to sign up next year.”

But the abseil was far from Stuart’s first daring venture - he braved a skydive in 1986, ran the London Marathon in 1991 and completed the South Downs Trek in 2020.

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And his most recent feat of abseiling has raised more than £3,900 for children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House.

87-year-old Stuart Morris abseiling down Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower

“Chestnut Tree House is such a fantastic cause,” he said. “The families go through the most difficult times and the children are so brave.

“To me, it’s the best charity you can support.”

As well as regularly fundraising for the children’s hospice, Stuart also volunteers at St Barnabas House, the adults’ hospice in Worthing.

In late 2019, he became a St Barnabas House community companion – a special befriending volunteer programme where he supports some of the most isolated patients that the hospice cares for.

Stuart Morris pictured last year after he took part in the South Downs Trek

But at the beginning of 2020, Stuart had to take a break from being a vommunity companion when his wife of 59 years, Eileen, fell terminally ill.

“Eileen was diagnosed with terminal cancer and received wonderful palliative care from St Barnabas House, from the nursing staff, but also the occupational therapy team who were splendid in making sure that we had all the aids we needed in a very short time.”

A few months later - on Stuart’s 86th birthday - Eileen sadly passed away.

“St Barnabas House did everything for us. They were fabulous.”

Nearly there ... 87-year-old Stuart Morris abseils 320ft down Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower

Sharing his story in the hope of encouraging others to support their local hospices, Stuart said: “I think the work that hospices do is great, and they need all the funds possible to continue caring for local people at their most difficult times.”

St Barnabas House has been providing hospice care for patients and their families in the areas of Worthing, Adur, Arun and Henfield for more than 45 years.

Patients are cared for in the comfort of their own homes or at the hospice, where they can get help managing their symptoms, as well as practical, emotional and spiritual support.