Age is no barrier for pensioner John Poland as he prepares to take on a 115ft challenge.

The 84-year-old grandfather of two is one of the oldest people taking part in an abseil down Peacehaven cliffs today in aid of the Martlets Hospice in Hove.

It is the first time Mr Poland, of Clarendon Villas, Hove, has done anything like this but he says he is ready to take on the challenge.

He said: “I like to try different things and I keep myself fit so hopefully everything should be fine.

“I was feeling all right about it but a few days ago I went to take a look at the cliffs and saw just how far down it was!

“It certainly made me think but I'm still ready to take it on.”

Mr Poland, an RAF veteran, also spends one-and-a-half days a week volunteering in the reception at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

He got the idea for the abseil from someone he works with.

He said: “I've done a few bits and pieces before for charity and I was thinking about something else and someone showed me details about the abseil and so I decided to go ahead with it.

“It was either that or a parachute jump and there was no way I was throwing myself out of plane!

Mr Poland, who used to work in the theatre business, regularly plays golf and looks nowhere near his age.

He has had some health problems in the past but in general is fit and well.

He added: “I don't let my age stop me from doing what I want to. I do the volunteering at the reception, which is the busiest part of the hospital, and I enjoy it.”

Mr Poland has already raised more than £400 for the hospice for the abseil.

He will be among 60 people taking the plunge tomorrow and all proceeds will go towards the hospice, which is not part of the NHS and relies on charity support.