Zipwire bid goes crashing to earth for Calne woman

First published in News

Slimming consultant Jackie Beckett spent days psyching herself up to get over her fear of heights so she could take part in a charity zip slide – only to find Hurricane Bertha had blown her challenge off course.

Mrs Beckett 59, of Oldbury Prior, Calne, arrived in Chepstow on Sunday morning only to be told it would be too dangerous for the slide to take place.

She said: “We had phoned in advance because we were worried about the weather but were told to still turn up. When we got there the organisers apologised but said it would be too dangerous.

“I understood of course but it was a bit of a let down as I had spent so long trying to overcome my fears and now I am going to have to do it all over again. I am still determined to do it at a later date.”

She had been due to tackle a 700-metre-long zip wire at the National Dive Centre to raise £3,000 for the charity Mission Direct, which helps communities in under-developed countries.

She decided to try to overcome her fears after the gauntlet was thrown down by a client from the slimming group she runs.

She said before the planned event: “Normally I wouldn’t go anywhere near a high place. I was on holiday in Portugal and wanted to walk around a castle’s walls but couldn’t manage it.”

She lost three stone with Cambridge Weight Plan and is now a consultant for the Calne area. In the future she hopes to take on a second challenge that combines her fear of flying and her fear of heights by doing a tandem parachute jump.

She said: “I have been involved with Mission Direct for a number of years and in 2009 I visited Sierra Leone with my husband Chris and spent two weeks working on a project to build a drugs rehabilitation centre. I want to go back and see how it is doing, to do more voluntary work and to give money to help other areas of its work.”

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