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Phil Lanes story

Phil Lanes is 62 years old and lives in Shepperton with his wife Alison. They are both keen animal lovers, sponsoring monkeys, donkeys and dogs to name a few. Phil was a proud member of the Grenadier Guards for 9 years and has worked in the casino industry for over 30 years in security, spending some of that time in Mayfair clubs.

He explains: “I know the wonderful work that goes on at Princess Alice Hospice. Three of our friends have been cared for by the Hospice – Alan around 25 years ago,  Carol was admitted to the In-Patient Unit back in 2010 and Mary died under their care in November this year.  The nurses and everybody at Princess Alice Hospice were amazing at looking after our friends and making them feel comfortable.  They helped relieve their pain and made them feel like people again.”

Phil is a keen supporter of his local Princess Alice Hospice shop, where a friend volunteers. “It is so well run, I like to donate as much as I can, especially items not claimed from lost property at work, anything from umbrellas to coats.”

Phil is one of our many Gift Aid donors and it was reading his latest copy of ‘intouch’ magazine that inspired him to sign up for the abseil: “I saw the piece on the Spinnaker Abseil and thought ‘I fancy doing that!’ Alison and I are always game for a laugh and like to do daft things.”

Phil had done an abseil off Twickenham Stadium some years before, a spur of the moment decision when the event was mentioned to him by a friend. He decided that his local Hospice was a cause he wanted to support and abseiling off the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth was a worthy challenge to take on.

He sent out a fundraising ask in the Guards’ newsletter and put a notice at his work, and was chuffed when the sponsorship started mounting up, especially from the officers who were very generous.

Phil says: “The week before the event, we decided to head down to Portsmouth to do a bit of a recce. The day of the abseil itself this August was superb weather wise. Alison and a friend came with me for moral support and to show me how to work the video camera!

The organisers were brilliant and talked us through what to do. It was a bit windy, which was fine on the first section, but then the wind breakers disappeared. Time goes so quickly – you’re told to walk down, rather than bounce, which gives you the opportunity to admire the incredible view. You can see all the way to the Isle of Wight on a clear day from the top of the Spinnaker (there’s even a viewing platform with a glass floor, if you’re brave enough).

I felt safe the whole time, it was strangely a bit like sitting in an armchair. You can come down at your own speed and I felt fully supported. Once I’d got to the bottom, my first thought was how much I’d like to do it all again! I’m not scared of heights at all; strangely coming down is fine, but I admit I wouldn’t be so confident at having to climb 94 metres!”

Phil and Alison like to make the most of every day and enjoy travelling, having walked underwater at the Great Barrier Reef, spotted grizzly bears in Canada and watched wildlife up close on an African safari in recent years. That’s why Phil supports us: “Princess Alice Hospice is so much more than a place to die. It enables patients to live to the full, to take advantage of precious moments. I’m glad that the money raised from my challenge has meant that the Hospice can provide that care for even more local people.”

If you are inspired to take on a challenge like Phil, click here to make your pledge today!