Colleagues raise charity cash with gruelling task

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Rope walks, monkey bars and precarious beams above pools of murky water did not defeat the Sussex stalwarts who smashed an army-level assault course at the weekend.

Eighteen adventurers from housing association Optivo, which has offices in Hastings, St Leonards, Battle and Bexhill, were among 120 audacious souls who took on the mighty challenge for charity, raising £6,000 in total for good causes.

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The teams raised £1,250 for the association’s own charity, Fresh Visions, which helps young people who have been victims of deprivation, domestic abuse, lack of education and social exclusion.

Its work in Sussex includes the Motiv8 project, which runs drama, sport, music and cookery sessions for young people in Ore, and the Build Yourself programme, which teaches construction, painting and decorating skills to unemployed young adults aged between 18 and 24.

Project officer Romy Rook completed the course along with colleagues Zoe Jackson, Victoria Ferguson, Kiera Chapman, Jocelyn Tilbrook and Nichola Underwood.

She said: “Everyone loved it, but it was so much harder than we thought. The obstacles were getting harder and harder and as the organiser everyone was looking daggers at me!

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“The worst thing was having to scramble up a six-foot wall and jump down the other side – I’m covered in bruises.

“But it was a real team effort – people you work with shoving each other over and under obstacles – that’s what most of us really enjoyed about it.”

Children’s charity School Inspirational Services organised the event, with help from military-style fitness trainers MY/PT. Thirty per cent of the money raised will go to support the charity’s work across the south east, which includes literacy schemes, walk-to-school schemes and road safety education. The rest will go to entrants’ chosen charities.

Charity chief executive Simon Dolby said: “It was a fantastic day. The course was tough and the teams were up for the challenge.”

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School Inspirational Services is supported by Sussex Newspapers.

The charity’s next challenge is a 100-foot abseil – entrants can raise money for any charity they like. Visit www.schoolinspirationalservices.co.uk for details or to book.