Slinfold grandad completes zip wire and freefall fundraiser to mark 80th birthday

Grandad Ian Jepps is celebrating his 80th birthday by doing a 300m zip wire and a 24m freefall drop here with his wife Pauline. Pic Steve Robards SR1820986 SUS-180814-205943001
Grandad Ian Jepps is celebrating his 80th birthday by doing a 300m zip wire and a 24m freefall drop here with his wife Pauline. Pic Steve Robards SR1820986 SUS-180814-205943001

A determined grandfather has celebrated his 80th birthday by completing a zip wire challenge followed by a freefall drop - and says he is ‘humbled’ by the support he has received.

Ian Jepps from Slinfold took on the fundraiser on Tuesday August 21 in aid of The Leprosy Mission and has so far raised more than £1,500.

Ian Jepps from Slinfold marked his 80th birthday by completing a 300 metre zip wire challenge followed by a 24 metre freefall. He is pictured during the freefall drop which took place on Tuesday August 21. SUS-180828-102928001

Ian Jepps from Slinfold marked his 80th birthday by completing a 300 metre zip wire challenge followed by a 24 metre freefall. He is pictured during the freefall drop which took place on Tuesday August 21. SUS-180828-102928001

He said: “The support from our church friends and those through the West Sussex County Times article has been fantastic.

“A cheque for £100 was put through our letter box from a totally unexpected source.

“The day itself was a time of nervous anticipation but it has been so worthwhile when I think of the good that the money raised can do.

“It will more than pay for one leprosy affected young person to have vocational training which will give them a future.”

The self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie took on the longest zip wire challenge on the South Coast which saw him travel 300 metres along Brighton seafront before the 24 metre freefall drop at the end.

Speaking of the daring drop, Ian said: “The worst part was having to wait with my feet half over the edge while they got clearance from below. Then came the step of faith into thin air. Heart rate increase until the brake mechanism kicks in

“Bystanders at the location and younger adventurers showed interest as to why this old guy was doing it.”

He added: “The amount raised has just gone up to above £1,500 exclusive of tax reclaim.

“I am so humbled by people’s support and good wishes. I’m thinking perhaps of having 80th birthdays every year!”

Ian and his wife Pauline, 79, are both volunteer speakers for The Leprosy Mission having been inspired by the charity’s work almost a decade ago.

They have visited Anandaban Hospital three times, once in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Nepal in 2015, and they also went to see The Leprosy Mission’s work in India last year.

For more information about leprosy go to www.leprosymission.org.uk

To sponsor Ianplease visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ian-jepps