London Fire Brigade

Firefighters help fundraisers ‘fly’ across the Thames

02 December 2016

Our specialist firefighters have rigged up a zip wire across the Thames in a bid raise over £1 million for Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

Firefighters have worked through the night to rig the specialist wiring from the roof of St Thomas’ Hospital on the South Bank of the Thames, over to Victoria Tower Gardens next to the Houses of Parliament on the other side of the river.

The zip wire was set up overnight across the River Thames

For one day only, twenty generous donors will be flying ‘superman style’ in a harness across the Thames. The zip will reach speeds of 40 miles per hour in this one-off daredevil stunt, and each of the participants have pledged £50k or more to take part in the exhilarating river crossing.

The event is also part of the London Fire Brigade’s 150th anniversary celebrations, and London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson will officially open the zip wire. Watch the live stream.

Not for the faint hearted

The stunt is the brainchild of London Fire Brigade Deputy Assistant Commissioner Andy Roe, whose son Zaki, aged nine, was treated at Evelina London Children’s Hospital. He said: “My son might not be alive today if it weren’t for the NHS and in particular Evelina Children’s Hospital and so I wanted to find a way to thank the remarkable staff at this fantastic hospital.

“During the many hours I spent by my son’s bedside, I realised that I could use my specialist skills to rig up a zip wire from the roof of the hospital across the Thames and that perhaps people would pay for the chance to speed across it like a firefighter. 

“I’ve got to warn you, this is not a trip for the faint heated, it will feel like you are flying directly into the Houses of Parliament. There is no other white knuckle ride like it in the world.

“It’s great that I have a chance to showcase the Brigade’s skills and raise money as part of celebrations for London Fire Brigade’s 150th anniversary.  In my view there’s no better way to support one of the leading children’s hospitals in the country in helping them to continue their vital work”

Fundraising drive

Other participants include British model Rosie Tapner plus friends, staff and supporters of the hospital, including Lord Stanley Fink, Evelina London’s President, who is on track to raise an amazing £100,000 for taking part.

The money raised is going towards the £2.7 million needed to build a dedicated Clinical Research Facility at Evelina London. This new facility will allow vital research to improve treatments and cures for numerous conditions including autism, epilepsy, congenital heart disease, kidney disease and allergies.

Evelina London Zip - facts

  • The Evelina London Zip is taking place between 1-7pm on Friday 2 December.
  • Available for one day only the zip will take 30 specialist firefighters three days to build.
  • Participants will travel at speeds of up to 40mph.
  • The firefighters who are building and operating the zip come from the London Fire Brigade’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team.
  • Positioned on the top of St Thomas’ Hospital, 52 metres up, the zip uses 500 metres of specially manufactured rope with the strength of steel cable which can withstand a load of 12 tons.
  • This is the first time a zip wire across the Thames has ever been attempted.
  • The zip travels from the roof of St Thomas’ Hospital to Victoria Tower Gardens over a distance of 463 metres.
  • The USAR team learn rescue skills, such as abseiling and rope skills, how to work in collapsed buildings, using advanced technology to help locate people in buildings and working with dogs to help with emergency situations