Why I am dropping 180ft down Arundel Castle's iconic tower

Mark Dunford at Vitality Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston
Mark Dunford at Vitality Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston

Being a journalist can open doors to do things you have always wanted to do, or even things you never thought you would do.

On Saturday, I covered T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston, something I have always wanted to do.

A few years back, when I was deputy sports editor of the Eastbourne Herald, I got to go powerboating - something I thought I would never do.

And now, I am preparing for something I have always wanted to - abseiling. The strange thing with this is I am abseiling down something I never thought I would be - Arundel Castle.

On Friday, September 28, I will be abseiling 180ft down the iconic Bake House Tower at the castle to help raise money for a wonderful charity.

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This new experience for me is to help celebrate the 15th birthday of Chestnut Tree House, a children’s charity providing hospice care services and community support for children and young people with progressive life-shortening conditions throughout East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove and South East Hampshire.

I have attended the Chestnut Tree House Business Awards on more than one occasion and it is always a truly humbling experience seeing the work they do - and what people to do to help raise money.

That's why I jumped at the chance when they offered Sussex Newspapers a media place on the abseil.

At first they said I did not have to raise money, they were happy for me to go along and give the event some coverage. But how could I not raise money for such an amazing cause?

They are giving me the chance to do a lifelong ambition, the least I can do is raise the £285 other participants are raising.

And why £285? That's the cost to cover an hour of all the care costs at Chestnut Tree House.

Some people have called me crazy for wanting to do the abseil, one person wants me to dress as Boris Johnson and wave flags, others have offered extra money if I wear a fez and shout 'Geronimo!' as I step off the top.

All I know is that I will be proud to do this for Chestnut Tree Hospice and I can't wait to look down!

If you would like to sponsor me, please visit my Just Giving page - the link is here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Mark-Dunford4