Sports and TV stars in epic charity abseil down the iconic BT Tower

30-strong team take on sky-high challenge to raise money 
BT Tower will be the venue for a nail-biting 138 metres charity abseil when a host of brave volunteers descend down the London landmark in a daring drop to raise money for Sport Relief and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund via BT’s MyDonate online fundraising site. 

The daredevil team will abseil down from the 29th floor of BT Tower on Monday 10 March. It will include intrepid adventurer Bear Grylls, TV presenter Helen Skelton, former Lion and England rugby world cup winner Ben Kay, former England rugby star Martin Bayfield and Olympic and World Champion swimmer Mark Foster. Gavin Patterson, CEO, will lead the charge on behalf of BT, which will include six former military staff who now work for BT with Major General Ed Davis CBE leading the Royal Marines. They will also be joined by executives from Premiership Rugby. 

The idea for the challenge came from BT chairman Sir Mike Rake, a keen supporter of the Royal Marines. The event will kick off a year of commemorations for the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines, during which the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund aims to reach its four-year campaign target of raising £6million. The abseil will also form a part of Sport Relief’s fundraising activities. Money raised will be shared between the two causes and all those taking part will have undergone rigorous training with the Royal Marines, who will be in charge of the abseil on the day. 

Helen Skelton, TV presenter said: “Walking backwards off the BT Tower is certainly going to be intimidating but it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and if we are with the Marines, I am more than confident we will be in safe hands.” 

Gavin Patterson, CEO BT said: “I’m delighted that BT Tower is hosting this event, particularly as it is a momentous year for the Royal Marines. Given that I’m not the greatest fan of heights, this is going to be a mental challenge as well as a physical one for me. I’m concentrating on the two terrific charities that will benefit from our fundraising and the fact that all the money donated via MyDonate will go directly to them.” 

Major General Ed Davis CBE, Commandant General Royal Marines said: “I’m delighted that the Royal Marines are supporting BT on this abseil at the start of our 350th anniversary year. It promises to be a great day for everyone taking part, including my own Royal Marines Corps family, where we hope to raise a vast amount of money for Sport Relief and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund – two charities that really do make a difference to the quality of life of people in need and inspiring young people to achieve their potential.” 

Kevin Cahill, Chief Executive at Comic Relief, said: “This innovative abseil is yet another example of BT, one of our key partners, going the extra mile for Sport Relief – meaning that we can help transform the lives of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the UK and across the world.” 
For further details and to sponsor an abseiler please visit www.bt.com/bttowerabseil 

Notes to editors: 
BT Tower quick facts 
• 48 - Years old, the BT Tower opened on October 8, 1965, by the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. 
• 4 – Shillings, admission for the public in 1965 (20p). 
• 30 – Years ago the Tower was opened to the general public. 
• 5 million – A conservative estimate on the number of visitors since 1965. 
• QE2 Bridge – The furthest landmark you can see from the Tower – on a clear day! 
• 22 – mph lift speed at the BT Tower. 
• 20 – Seconds the lift takes from the ground to the 34th floor. 
• 36 – Number floors. 
• 843 – Number of steps to the 34th floor. 
• 22 – Minutes the revolving restaurant takes to complete a full circle. 
• £2.5 million – Approximate cost to construct. 
• 189 metres - High (620 feet) - the equivalent of 24 double-decker buses end to end. 
• 13,000 - Tonnes of concrete and steel. 
• 20 – Centimetres the Tower is designed to sway, less than most high-rise structures. 
• 50,000 - Square feet of glass in the Tower. 
• 23 – Centimetres the building contracts in cold weather and expands when it’s warm. 
• 31 – Aerial dishes removed, last one on December 6, 2011 

The BT Tower is one of the most technologically advanced communications buildings in the world. The BT Tower’s international media centre manages a significant amount of mainstream TV, using fibre optic cables. UK and global broadcasters like ITV, Channel 4, BSkyB and CNBC Europe get their signals through the BT Tower. The BT Tower is a fully operational building providing services 24 hours a day, 365 days a week. 

A link to the 1985 charity abseil http://stunts4charity.com/stunt5bttower.html 

About the Royal Marines 

The Royal Marines, a key part of the Naval Service, celebrate their 350th anniversary in 2014. The Royal Marines were formed in the reign of King Charles II on 28th October 1664 as the Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment. Since then, Marines have taken part in more battles on land and sea around the world than any other branch of the British Armed Forces; so numerous are the Corps’ battles honours they are simply represented by the famous Globe and the single honour ‘Gibraltar’. 

Today, the Royal Marines are the UK’s Commando Forces and the Royal Navy’s amphibious troops. An elite force held at very high readiness, they are trained for worldwide rapid response, able to deal with a wide spectrum of threats and security challenges, from conflict prevention through specialist amphibious operations to peacekeeping and humanitarian relief, demonstrating political intent and military capability. 

For more information: www.royalnavy.mod.uk/The-Fleet/The-Royal-Marines 

Sport Relief 
As one of the UK's biggest fundraising events, Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active, raise cash and change lives. Since 2002, Sport Relief has raised over £195million. The money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to help people living incredibly tough lives, both at home in the UK and across the world. 

From the BT Sport Relief challenge Walliams Vs The Thames to Eddie Izzard's 43 marathons in 51 days Sport Relief has a unique history of brave celebrities taking on gruelling physical challenges to raise cash and change lives and Sport Relief 2014 will be no exception. 

Visit sportrelief.com to keep up with the latest news. 

Comic Relief is a UK charity, which aims to create a just world, free from poverty. The money raised by Comic Relief, through its fundraising campaigns Red Nose Day and Sport Relief as well as other initiatives, is spent at home in the UK and across the world to help people, families and whole communities stand on their own two feet. 

Comic Relief is a registered charity 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland) 

About RMCTF 

The Royal Marines Charity Trust Fund is here to provide a better quality of life to serving and retired Royal Marines and their families. 

The Royal Marines Charity Trust Fund is the overarching Royal Marines charity that is partnered with the Royal Marines and supports the Corps Family, from cadets, through serving marines to retired marines, including reserves and the band service and all of their dependents’ and families: 

RMCTF supports the Corps Family through the 3 x pathways: 

Recovery Pathway 
Helping the wounded and injured in any way we can, particularly as the most severely injured begin their transition into civilian life. 

Quality of Life Pathway 
Helping those still serving and facing successive tours in high threat environments - providing adventure training for those returning from operations, funding homecoming events, financing memorials, maintaining our heritage, etc. 

Through Life Pathway 
Continuing the same level of support and care once the beneficiaries break their formal links to the Corps. 

Sadly, but importantly, the RMCTF also provides a grant to the next of kin of those who die in service within 48 hours of the event. 

Support to the RMCTF is essential to our ability to support the Corps Family into the future 

The RMCTF’s current fundraising campaign has an ambitious target of £6M to be raised by the end of the Royal Marines 350th Anniversary this year (2014).