Prince Andrew abseils down the Shard for charity

 

The Duke of York overcame his “sense of trepidation” to abseil down the tallest building in Europe for charity today.

Andrew descended the Shard skyscraper in London, beginning his daredevil stunt from the 87th floor - just below the top of the 1,016ft tower - and finishing half an hour later on level 20.

The 52-year-old royal was one of around 40 people to lower themselves to raise money for educational charity the Outward Bound Trust and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.

Making it safely down after abseiling a total of 785 feet, Andrew said: "I'm not even going to say that was a piece of cake or not. I will never do it again.

"I have to say, the most difficult bit was walking up the stairs."

Donors have given more than £290,000 to sponsor Andrew, who is the Outward Bound Trust's chairman of trustees.

As a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who served in the Falklands War, he said the Marines were especially close to his heart.

Describing how he got ready for the challenge, he said: "You have a moment to realise what you are doing and where you are going to go.

"The difficult bit was actually stepping out over the edge so the training I had done over the summer with the Royal Marines in Arbroath gave me the confidence to step out over the edge without too much trepidation."

Andrew said he came up with the idea of abseiling down the Shard as a fundraising opportunity last year, when the skyscraper was being built.

The money raised for Outward Bound will be used to fund outdoor activities and learning for children who live in inner cities.

Asked what the Queen thought about his descent, the Duke of York said: "When I spoke to her last at Balmoral she was interested in why we were doing it and when I spoke to her about all the safety and the activities that were going on around it, about the teamwork... she understood what all the risks were and, like the incredible monarch she is, she was entirely happy.

"But this is not about me, this is about young people, this is about young people's future, this is about changing people's lives and giving them the opportunity."

After Andrew completed the first descent of the day, he was followed by Foreign Secretary William Hague's wife Ffion, who is Outward Bound's deputy chairman.

Mrs Hague described abseiling from such a height as "scary, exhilarating and truly terrifying" and said her husband thought she was mad when she first mentioned the idea.

She said: "I am very glad it is over and I wouldn't necessarily want to do it again but, my goodness, I am glad I have done it.

"I was trying very hard to focus on remembering the view because very few people in London will have seen London from that angle, from this fantastic building.

"There have been millions of moments when I have thought 'I am not going to be able to do it' but the training has been fantastic and we just kept focusing on the possibility of raising £1 million for Outward Bound. That's got to be worth it."

Also among the participants was adventurer Sir Chris Bonington, whose long career has seen him conquer mountains such as Everest, the Eiger and Annapurna.

The 78-year-old said: "It was absolutely brilliant. It was just great fun and the view from the top of the Shard is just mind-blowing.

"It is a whole sight easier abseiling down glass than it is rock and snow with the wind whistling around your ears."

PA

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
news
Life & Style
tech
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
Sport
Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates his goal
sport
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
News
news
Arts & Entertainment
film
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Arts & Entertainment
Homer meets Lego Marge in the 25th anniversary episode of The Simpsons, set to air on 4 May
tv
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey gets the North Korean leader's look
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal