Monday 4 June 2012

The wrong end of the building…

More accustomed to working in the basement of the University Tower Building, on Saturday Michael Bolik of Archive Services found himself on the roof of the building, preparing to descend 140 feet straight to the ground. He was taking part in a charity abseil to raise funds for Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, which also gave him the opportunity to conquer one or two fears – such as a fear of heights! However, Michael had always had an odd desire to attempt abseiling, and when the leaflets advertising the event appeared his colleagues encouraged him to sign up. “I registered on the CHSS website and that was me committed,” said Michael. “And when people began to donate there was just no getting out of it.”

Michael confessed to feeling quite tense during the weeks leading up to the event each time he thought of actually standing on the roof of the Tower. Indeed, this turned out to be the most difficult moment of the whole experience. “The worst bit is climbing over the railing at the top and then leaning back,” Michael explained. “Then it becomes all about trust. We had been told a couple of times that abseiling is safer than crossing the road, but that was little comfort on the edge of the Tower roof leaning back at a 45 degree angle!” However, the team on hand to ensure that the abseil went smoothly were very professional and coached the participants at each stage, thus instilling a level of confidence. In fact, one of the most surprising things about the abseil was that it seemed to be over very quickly. “When I passed the Principal’s Office, which juts out of the building on the fourth floor I knew I was more than half way down,” said Michael.

All in all it was a worthwhile experience and Michael’s family, friends, colleagues - and even complete strangers – donated generously to the charity. There is still time for last minute donations on Michael’s JustGiving page:

The acid test of the experience is whether or not Michael would ever contemplate abseiling again. His response to this question is “Definitely!”

(Photographs taken by Kenneth Baxter and Kristian Bolik)

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