Anna and Pippa abseil for the Horton - June 2023

Two nursing Sisters from the Horton General were amongst over 60 people who abseiled down a 100 foot wall at the John Radcliffe this weekend, raising funds for hospital causes.

The Great Big Hospital Abseil has been taking place for around 20 years, but had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic and again in 2022 following the death of the Queen.

Pippa Parnell and Anna Brain, who both work on the Children’s Ward at the Horton General,  were first down the ropes on Sunday morning. The pair abseiled side by side, conquering their fears and raising nearly £700.

Anna, who lives in Banbury said: “I’ve worked on the Horton Children’s Ward for nearly 22 years now - joining as a newly qualified nurse from Coventry University, and have never left. I love the job and the team I now manage along with Pippa. 

“Our hospital charity provides endless support across our Trust, including the Horton, to ensure our patients, their families and hospital staff are provided with that little bit extra to make their experience more manageable. So the pair of us decided to sign up for the abseil to say thank you.

“I was so nervous especially climbing up the ladder to the roof, as it made it seem so real. Once up, the view was spectacular until I looked over the edge and saw a tiny husband and daughters waving up at me!

“Leaning back over the edge was the scariest part, but as soon as I started moving down my heart rate returned to some kind of normality.

“Once down I was a bit shaky but the cheers of encouragement made it all worth while. It  was an amazing  experience and I'm so glad I did it. And the fact that we have raised nearly £700 between us makes it all the more rewarding.”

Pippa Parnell added: “I have worked at the Horton since 2019 where I have been welcomed so warmly by everyone. I can honestly say the Horton is like a big family.

“I live just outside Banbury with my husband and we have always known the importance of raising money for charity as my husband is registered blind and we truly appreciate the help different charities give to him.  It is so special to be able give back in some way and this goes some way to doing this.

“To be honest,  the abseil is  something I never thought I would do - but I am I am so proud of me and Anna for tackling this challenge.

“That feeling of stepping off the edge was scary but once I started, I enjoyed it and maybe would do it again, it was so well run, and everyone was  helpful and supportive. We are already talking about the next challenge!”

Gail Williams, Charity Events Manager said: “We were bowled over by the courage of all our abseilers - absolutely everyone managed to complete the abseil, and there were smiles all round on this very sunny weekend.

“It always means such a lot when the staff in the hospitals support our charity events, so to have Anna and Pippa there was just fantastic.

“We have another abseil coming up in September, so if anyone has been inspired by these wonderful ladies and would like to join us just visit 

"Abseilers can choose to support the Horton, JR, Churchill, NOC or Children’s Hospital.”

There’s still time to sponsor Anna and Pippa at