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Inspired director's abseil challenge

Poole Hospital finance director Mark Orchard was so inspired when he met intrepid octogenarian Margaret Fouracre at our recent open day that he agreed to join her in a charity abseil – despite a fear of heights.

Mark Orchard and Margaret Fouracre

Mark sizes up the scale of the challenge under the 40m high Parkstone House, at Poole Hospital, which Margaret abseiled for charity in her mid-70s. Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower stands some four times taller.

Mark was so impressed with the determination and generosity of 84-year-old hospital volunteer Margaret that he says he didn’t think twice when she invited him to join her in fundraising for Poole Hospital Charity by descending Portsmouth’s 170m Spinnaker Tower by rope next month.

Margaret is no stranger to adrenaline-filled fundraising escapades or raising money for the hospital. In her mid-70s, she took on a sponsored abseil from the top of the 40m Parkstone House, next to Poole Hospital, while last year she not only climbed up but abseiled down all 90ft of Portland Bill.

“I’ve had a fear of heights since I was a child so needless to say this is as far away from my comfort zone as you can imagine,” said Mark, who joined the trust in April.

“Margaret is one of those people you meet in life whose drive and enthusiasm are infectious, so when I met her at the open day and she asked if I’d like to take part I thought to myself ‘how could I say anything other than yes?’.

“On the day I’ll be focussing on the great work that Poole Hospital Charity does in supporting the trust to provide the very best care and experience possible to our patients - and on not looking down.”

Asked if she had any advice for Mark, Margaret said: “You just have to be confident – relax and just do it!”

The duo will be making their attempt on 15 August.  To sponsor Mark or Margaret text DIFF75, followed by £2, £5 or £10 to 70070, or visit

Date: 10 July 2015

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Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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