Evelina Children’s Hospital has raised over £1m towards a new Clinical Research Facility by putting the first ever zip wire across the Thames.
The Evelina London Zip event took place in partnership with the London Fire Brigade on 2nd December, with 20 people taking the trip from the roof of St Thomas Hospital to Victoria Tower Gardens next to the Houses of Parliament on other side. Each one raised at least £50,000 to take part. The Evelina also ran a competition to win a free place to travel the zip wire, which was entered by 5,000 people.
Zippers included Lord Fink, the president of Evelina London Children’s Hospital and the former CEO and deputy chairman of Man Group PLC, who raised over £100,000 for the hospital, and Professor Gideon Lack: head of the Children’s Allergy Service at Evelina London.
The zip wire ran for 463 metres, and required the efforts of 30 specialist firefighters from London Fire Brigade’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team to build, with people travelling at 40mph across the river. A number of organisations also sponsored the event, including Marlow Ropes, ISC Solutions in Metal and Livett’s Marine Logistics.
The new facility will cost £2.7m in total, and will allow the Evelina to conduct vital research to improve treatments and cures for numerous conditions including autism, epilepsy, congenital heart disease, kidney disease and allergies.
The London Fire Brigade’s deputy assistant commissioner Andy Roe devised the zip wire plan while sitting at his son Zaki’s bedside in an Evelina London hospital room, after Zaki was taken ill in 2013 with viral encephalitis.
“My son might not be alive today if it weren’t for the NHS, especially Evelina London, so I wanted to find a way to thank the remarkable staff at this fantastic hospital. During the many hours I spent by my son’s bedside, I realised that I could use my specialist skills to rig up a zip wire from the roof of the hospital across the Thames and that perhaps people would pay for the chance to speed across it like a firefighter.”
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