First Round: Taking the plunge

First Round would be loathed to describe itself as a scaredy-cat. But, if truth be told, it has no head for heights.

The same could not be said for Lynn Fordham, chief executive of London-listed private equity firm SVG Capital, and 47 other swashbuckling participants in the City Three Peaks Challenge organised by The Outward Bound Trust in association with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC).

Just looking at the pictures of our Lynn happy in her harness and poised to abseil down one of the tallest towers in the City, with the Gherkin and a steep drop to the pavement behind her, had First Round in a swirl of vertigo. What people will do for charity, First Round wondered aloud, before remembering itself (and how used to ups and downs Lynn must be as SVG finds it feet post-crisis).

And they didn’t just brave one descent from the city skyline. Walking along in the Square Mile on 7 September, if you had put your phone away and peered at the Gherkin, the Cheesegrater or the Walkie-Talkie you would have seen the minute figures of the 48 City folk wrenched from their pinstripes and sporting overalls and a helmet taking the plunge for charity.

The organisers claimed it was the most ambitious charity fundraising event the City has ever seen with the longest civilian abseil to ever take place at a total of 1,916 feet for three descents. That’s equivalent to 142 double-decker buses.

The daring do aside, each participant aimed to raise £100,000 to support Outward Bound, which unlocks the potential of young people from all walks of life through outdoor adventure, and RNRMC, which funds projects and support services for service veterans and their families.

At £4.8 million, it is a sizeable cheque for two worthy causes. And all of those funds will go directly to both charities as the cost of the event was underwritten by a silent sponsor. Now that’s the kind of giving First Round likes.