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Norfolk volunteer group climb O2 dome for visual impairment charity

PUBLISHED: 08:13 07 June 2018

The group of at the top of the O2 dome. Photo: NNAB

The group of at the top of the O2 dome. Photo: NNAB

Archant

A blind worker at a charity for visually impaired people has taken part in a charity challenge in memory of his father.

The group of NNAB fundraisers about to clilmb the O2 dome. Photo: NNABThe group of NNAB fundraisers about to clilmb the O2 dome. Photo: NNAB

Ed Bates who works at the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB) has scaled the 170ft heights of London’s O2 arena, alongside a group of eight other blind or visually impaired people from Norfolk.

He was inspired to take on the challenge after the loss of his father, Jason Bates in May 2017, and to raise money for the NNAB, which supports visually impaired people throughout Norfolk.

Mr Bates, 27, of The Holway, Winterton, said: “I’d not heard of anybody who’d done it before I signed up so I didn’t have a clue what to expect.

“The walkway is suspended, so it’s like walking on a trampoline.

“You have to keep feeding your rope through the harness, which is tricky when you can’t see what you’re doing.

“I suspect it was less scary for me than for those who can see.”

The climbers were accompanied by members of staff and volunteers from the NNAB.

Mr Bates added: “I couldn’t really tell how high up we were.

“I asked one or two of the volunteers to describe the view, but they didn’t really want to look down.”

“It was great going up there and it was a very still day so we could hear all the sounds of London.”

The full climb took two hours, and saw the group kitted out in climbing gear and harnesses, as they scaled the specially designed suspended walkway from one side of the dome to the other.

They clambered up 30 degree slopes to reach the 52m high platform above the dome.

Mr Bates described the challenge as “a really good experience”, and added: “I love to do things I haven’t had the chance to do before.”

He said: “I was a bit nervous before we set off, but it was a brilliant experience, and I would certainly do it again.”

Mr Bates took on the O2 climb as part of a double challenge he hopes to complete in 2018.

In August he will take part in the 10km Run Norwich event, to raise money for the NNAB.

Mr Bates previously took part in charity challenges with his father, including completing the Tour de Broads on a tandem bike.

So far, he has raised £287 for the NNAB. You can support his fundraising efforts by visiting: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EdwardBates1

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