Daredevil pair scale landmark for charity

A pair of daredevil coastguards swapped North Norfolk's cliffs for an altogether different environment in the name of charity.

Keith Griffin and Dave Ratcliffe, based at Happisburgh, were among dozens of fundraisers who abseiled down Southwold lighthouse in aid of the Suffolk town's RNLI station.

The pair took on the vertiginous challenge on Sunday and raised �350 for the lifeboat charity, which they work closely with as part of the coastguard's cliff rescue team.

Despite being used to heights Mr Griffin, 42, admitted he did get an attack of the nerves just before he began lowering himself down the towering landmark.

'The worst bit to be honest was climbing over the railings at the top of the lighthouse. But once we got into it, it was great fun and once we got to the bottom we wanted to do it again,' he said. 'And the view from the top was spectacular.'

The dad-of-four added: 'We were taking our time, my son videoed it for us and it took us round about two minutes to get down. My family and Dave's family came along and we had some of the local coast guards there as well supporting us so it was good.'

Mr Ratcliffe, whose five dogs also turned out on the day to cheer him on, said he was not scared by the abseil but became a bit nervous when he started climbing the lighthouse's 114 steps.

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The dad-of-three, 49, said: 'The only time I was nervous was walking up the steps, that was absolutely horrendous. But once we got to the top and we were looking over the balcony I was fine.

'I really enjoyed it and it was a worthwhile cause.'

Among the other fundraisers who scaled the lighthouse was award winning Lord of the Rings actor Bernard Hill, who also took part in the 2009 abseil.

* Anyone who wants to support or join the RNLI as a volunteer should call 0845 045 6999 or visit www.rnli.org