Sue-per-gran abseiling 160ft to support Evelina London

Posted on Wednesday 8th May 2019
Sue Smith, volunteer honorary chaplain in the atrium at Evelina London

Sue Smith as a volunteer honorary chaplain today and as a nurse in 1962

Sue-per-gran, Sue Smith, who volunteers at Evelina London is taking on an adrenaline charged sponsored abseil to raise funds.

Sue Smith, 78, from Hammersmith in west London is a grandmother-of-seven and spent much of her career as a health visitor, seeing families across London. Sue currently volunteers as an honorary chaplain at Evelina London and is taking on the St Thomas’ Abseil 2019 on Friday 10 May, abseiling 160ft down the face of St Thomas’ Hospital, next to Evelina London on the bank of the River Thames.

Thinking about her fundraising feat, Sue said: “Each day when I come here I look up at St Thomas’ and I think ‘oh my goodness, what am I doing?’ I’m sure I’ll be terrified on the day but it’s so important for me to do it.”

Inspired by her aunt, who qualified as a nurse at Guy’s Hospital in 1940, Sue began her nurse training in 1959.

She said: “I had such a fulfilling career and believe I was meant to be a nurse. Being able to support others at such a critical time in their lives is truly an honour.

“There are many things outside of clinical care which may be playing on their mind, so I help as much as I possibly can to try and create some kind of normalcy in what can be a very difficult situation.”

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has been a big part of Sue’s life. She said: “Throughout my life the Trust has been there for my family so I feel compelled to give something back.

“As well as my aunt training to be a nurse at Guy’s, one grandchild was born there and two of my grandsons were born at St Thomas’. My father was also treated at St Thomas’ before he sadly passed away.”

Sue believes that age should be no barrier when it comes to challenging yourself: “I love growing older. It’s a great gift. This abseil is an opportunity for me to face my fears and do something I never thought I could do.”

Susan Pruden, senior play specialist, said: “Volunteers like Sue are a vital part of our team. Sue has so many qualities that make her special and she is valued so much. As a former nurse, she is empathetic and approachable and always has time for other people. Patients and families all look forward to speaking with her and spending time with her.

“Sue always thinks of other people before she thinks of herself and for her to do this to raise money for Evelina London is such an amazing thing. We’re extremely lucky to have her as part of the team.”

You can support Sue’s fundraising via her fundraising page

About St Thomas’ Abseil

St Thomas’ Abseil is an annual challenge that raises vital funds. Now in its fifth year, the abseil takes place on one of London’s most iconic hospital buildings, looking out over the River Thames, with views of Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament and The London Eye.

Celebrating 150 years of Evelina London

We’re celebrating our 150th anniversary this year, marking 150 years since Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild founded the hospital in memory of his wife, Evelina.