Stevenson to Rocket Across Foyle to raise funds for Children in Crossfire

Brenda Stevenson (SDLP) candidate pictured at the North West Launch of the Women's Manifesto calling for gender equality ahead of the Assembly and Local Government elections on May 5th. PIcture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 8.4.11

Brenda Stevenson (SDLP) candidate pictured at the North West Launch of the Women's Manifesto calling for gender equality ahead of the Assembly and Local Government elections on May 5th. PIcture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 8.4.11

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She might come from a high-flying political dynasty, but Brenda Stevenson, formerly Hume, admits she’s petrified by heights and water.

So whizzing across the Foyle in a crane basket suspended 170 foot above the ground for Children in Crossfire sounds like the perfect stomach-churning challenge for the plucky councillor.

Brenda signed up for the Saturday August 20 zipline stunt earlier this week - which means travelling at 35 mph across 1,300 feet of cable above the river from Prehen Boat House to Coshowen.

Mum of two boys, she told the Journal why she agreed to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’.

“When I told my husband Tommy I’d been asked to do it, he said ‘no way’, you’ll never go through with it.

“I’m the only female in the house and that was like a red rag to a bull.

“Seriously though, all proceeds of the zipline will go towards Children in Crossfire’s projects in Tanzania, Ethopia and The Gambia, helping some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children.

“Eileen Warren who works for Children in Crossfire is a close friend of our family and it was her who first mentioned it - before I knew it she had me signed up.

“I’ve known Richard Moore and the remarkable work he and his charity have done for years and I thought if he can overcome blindness - then I can overcome my fear of heights and water”.

It’s a double phobia that Brenda believes has held her back most of her life, especially when she’s on holiday.

And just crossing the new Peace Bridge last week for a downriver photo, made Brenda feel more than a little queasy.

“I’ve always felt uneasy around water - on holiday the beach would be out for me.

“When it came to my own boys, I made sure they could swim and sent them for swimming lessons.

“My two boys are so excited for me already - I’ve had to warn them not to shout at me when I’m up there!

“I’ll probably be the one with my eyes tight shut and my face all screwed up.

“But I’ll be so pleased with myself for doing it - that I don’t care how I look.

“But it’s been a lifelong ambition for me to conquer these fears - if I achieve this it will be one of my proudest moments.

“And anyone who wants to come along and give the charity a wee bit of financial or moral support - is very very welcome”.

Around 200 participants are expected to sign up for this unforgettable charity stunt and Eileen explained that a £15.00 deposit will secure a place with further fundraising of £135,00.

Anyone interested in supporting Brenda or doing the zipline themselves should contact Children in Crossfire on 028 7126 9898.