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Burgess Hill daredevil joins Prince Andrew in Shard abseil stunt
5:33pm Monday 3rd September 2012 in News
WITH VIDEO: Daredevil Paul Lawrence overcame a fear of heights and a ruptured Achilles tendon to abseil down Europe's tallest building.
The 42-year-old was among 40 people, including the Duke of York, to take part in today's stunt at the newly-completed Shard in the heart of London's financial district.
Mr Lawrence, a sales director from Burgess Hill, took about 40 minutes to make the descent of the 1,016ft landmark.
He took on the challenge to raise money for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.
He said: “Last year I was watching the Remembrance Sunday service and it was so sad hearing about the young kids of 19 and 20 who had been killed out in Afghanistan.
“I wanted to do something but wasn't sure what. Then I read an advert looking for people with a commando spirit to take part in some fundraising stunts like abseiling down the St Pancras building.
“I signed up for that on September 14 and then they told me about this one as well and I agreed to go for it.”
The preparation did not go smoothly for Mr Lawrence who is married to Monika, 37, and has a daughter Cydney, (crct) nine.
He ruptured his Achilles at the beginning of July and following an emergency operation it was touch and go whether he would be fit enough to take on the challenge.
However doctors finally gave him the go ahead on Friday.
He said: “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I was determined to do it.
“I'm not good with heights so it was a bit of a challenge. I tried not to look down while doing it.
“But when I see what those soldiers who have been badly injured can overcome, then it is a small thing for me to do.
“It was actually really exciting and not as scary as I thought it was going to be. The weather was brilliant and the views were absolutely amazing.
“It was a terrific experience and I'm really glad I did it.
“My tendon held out and so now it is all systems go for September 14.”
Mr Lawrence did not meet Prince Andrew, as the Duke did his abseil first thing in the morning, while Mr Lawrence did his in the afternoon.
He will be continuing to fundraise until Remembrance Day.
To support him, visit www.justgiving.com/Paul-Lawrence6 .