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Mary conquers 165ft Forth Bridge challenge

By Alistair Whitfield

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The 165ft-high Firth of Forth Rail Bridge
The 165ft-high Firth of Forth Rail Bridge

SCOTLAND'S only deaf minister has abseiled 165ft off the Forth Rail Bridge to help Outfit Moray.

Mary Whittaker was often told when she was growing up that she told she couldn't do things because she was deaf.

But all that changed in December 2017 when she was given the opportunity to abseil down the front of Forty Four in Lossiemouth, the building previously occupied by Grampian Furnishers.

Outfit Moray fundraiser Karen Cox said: "Mary approached me and asked if she was allowed to abseil.

"As a charity we work with young people with a variety of different needs, so from our perspective Mary being deaf had no impact on her ability to abseil.

"Mary was totally blown away by the opportunity and was so excited.

"Her face was a picture of pure joy when she landed and she immediately took up my challenge of abseiling from the Forth Rail Bridge."

Mary, who lives in Lhanbryde, became the Church of Scotland’s first minister to use British Sign Language when she was ordained in 2011.

She was accompanied to the Forth Rail Bridge by an interpreter who translated all the health and safety instructions beforehand.

Also on hand was her hearing dog, Scott, who waited patiently at the bottom and was very pleased to be reunited with a beaming Mary when she landed.

Talking afterwards, Mary said: "I have still have not come down to earth properly.

"The hardest part was going over the barrier, but I really enjoyed the abseiling itself.

"I'm so proud of myself and so glad Outfit Moray decided to follow up my dream and make it possible."

Mary raised £745 for Outfit Moray's activities.

This total will be added to by Moray BSL Services, who are auctioning off a Moray Golf Club 4ball voucher.

Outfit Moray is running a programme of events for deaf families over the summer holidays, thanks to a generous grant of £4,000 from MFR Cash for Kids.

Mary (left) celebrates after completing her abseil.
Mary (left) celebrates after completing her abseil.

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