Octogenarian goes into freefall for charity

A grandmother joined an abseil in aid of welfare projects in Israel


Grandmother Gitta Zarum marked her 82nd birthday by tackling the UK’s highest freefall abseil — the ArcelorMittal Orbit on the Olympic Park site in Stratford.

Mrs Zarum was one of nine Emunah supporters who took part in the challenge to raise funds for vulnerable children supported by its services in Israel.

“Wow, what an experience,” Mrs Zarum said of her 80-metre descent. “But I am glad to be back on firm land. Stepping off the edge backwards meant a few moments of extreme scariness but having ‘emunah’ — faith — really helped.

“The view was beautiful going down and you could see for miles. It was a perfect day with a blue sky and hardly a cloud.”

She had been aware of Emunah’s work “since I was a child in Manchester, when the organisation began as Women’s Mizrachi, so I grew up with the idea that, through Emunah, you could help vulnerable children in Israel.”

Mrs Zarum — a transcriber at the trial of Adolf Eichmann — added that as she was not in a position physically to help those in need, “I have raised funds to pay for the professional people at Emunah who can”.

The abseil was one of a quartet of events which earned in excess of £20,000 towards a new dormitory at the Afula children’s home and a summer programme of activities and therapies.

The others were a four-day sponsored hike in the Scottish Highlands, a bridge lunch and a meeting of the charity’s men’s lunch club which was addressed by journalist Joshua Rozenberg.

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