Battersea Power Station Exhibition at BAC

Battersea Arts Centre this week was playing host to a wonderful exhibition of art work about the Battersea Power Station.   Those of you who know me well or have read my posts for a while now will know I did an Abseil in 2012 and also the reasons why.  I still laugh that they told me (and showed me) the ambulance at the foot of the Station as a reassurance… it was a mere spec from up there!

Anyway I was delighted to hear about this exhibition of works of art compiled in one place of the Power Station.  Hundreds of different works and different interpretations in different mediums.  There were professional artists, accomplished amateurs and children who’d entered work.  They varied from small drawings, photographs, pencils, pastels, acrylics, cardboard, patchwork, woodwork, glass and even Lego.

I loved that each artist had interpreted it slightly differently or caught a different light or angle.  Most of the work was for sale and I was pleased to see lots of red dots throughout the exhibition.

I spotted one piece painted by a lady, Laura, who’d been inspired to paint it following her abseil in October 2012!

It’s encouraging to think that there’s such passion for an industrial building that has, for decades been in danger or eroding and collapsing but now with overseas investment, is to have new life breathed back into it.  But no matter what the designers create in and around the Power Station, to me there will be no image stronger than the skyline at night with the towers reaching far in to the sky.

IMG_0294 IMG_0295 BAC WallLego pictureMade from Lego

Lego sculptureSchool Legoand the glass piece

Glass power stationGlass explanation Power Station

 

I did it!!

Wow.  Wow.  OMG Wow!  I did it!

This morning I was a touch apprehensive.  Why the blinkety blink was I getting up early, heading out into the cold with the intention of launching myself over the edge of a wall 100ft from the ground?

I think perhaps I was more worried than I thought… I managed to get off the train at Clapham Junction, a stop too early!  I could see Battersea Power Station from the platform as I waited for the next train… today instead of looking majestic, the towers looked exceptionally tall and imposing.

Although there’s a little bit of a November chill in the air, the light is beautiful and the sky an azure blue.  If we were dressed in T-shirts and shorts you might actually believe it was summer!

My lovely Godmother was there and was able to keep my mind off what I was about to do whilst I registered, swapped trainers for ‘sensible boots’, reflective jacket, hard hat and got strapped into a harness.

A group of 8 anxious abseilers followed a Stroke Association volunteer into the Power Station.  From the outside of the building, although we know it’s crumbling, I sort of believed there was still a belly to the building but what we saw was a void, fallen pieces of masonry, trenches of mud and debris.   And a lot of light… there’s not much by way of a roof or top to it.  One of my fellow abseilers bought her camera with her and I’m hoping to be emailed pictures of the inside of the building, so will update this when/if I receive them. I’ve said before how I love this building and I truly truly hope that the new owners will be able to restore some of the building whilst finding and developing a new use and love for the site.

After quite a climb up the stairwell we reached the top.  We were ushered along and asked to walk close to interior wall (which apparently was safe to walk on!).  After a few minutes four of us stepped up to the scaffolding stations.  Final checks of our safety equipment were made.  I was asked my name (can’t remember what I said).  Introduced to the lovely man from the Mile End Climbing Wall who kindly said to keep looking into his eyes!  Every time I sneaked a look down (big mistake) he would remind me “Look into my eyes, look into my eyes”…

My carabiners were clipped on to some very thin looking ropes… one that was mine to pass through my hands in order to lower myself ‘gracefully’ to the ground.  The second was secured to my lovely Mile End man.  After reassuring me that I’d be OK, he told me to  step back!

I think it was at that point that my fear really kicked in.  Both feet were precariously balanced on the edge.  A wide stance but I was firmly staying on the top of the Power Station…  I remember saying “I can’t do this”…  I remember repeating it again.

Then in a split second decision I remembered why I was doing it.  I wasn’t doing it for me.  Well OK may be a little bit – after all I  hate heights.  I was thinking of all the amazingly generous people who have sponsored me.  Supported me.  Encouraged me.  Laughed at me.  I was thinking about all of you who have facebooked, messaged, texted, tweeted and called me to support me today and since I signed up for this stupidity!  I was also thinking about the incredible sum of over £600 that has been donated by you all.  I was thinking about how that money will be spent and the people who will benefit.

And I went over the edge….

Then it was fun.  It didn’t occur to me then that I was only attached by a thin rope nor that the ground was quite a distance below.  I loved it.

I did a few Tigger bounces (much to the admiration of “Look into my eyes” at the top, who shouted down to congratulate me on my technique!

Cleverly I had thought that apart from having a rather larger backside than many of the abseilers, it might be difficult to spot who was who on the descent and tied a fluorescent orange scarf around my hair!  No excuse for not spotting me now…

And the ‘official’ picture… forget me in the foreground… check out how far down the ambulance is!!!

Hey all I did was get up early (struggle), head out into the cold (struggle), look into a man’s eyes (weird), step off the top of a wall (crazy), bounce on the end of  a rope (no comment) and then remember to breathe when my feet were back on terra firma.

What you all did was support me, encourage me, donate your hard earned cash, the kids raided piggy banks and more importantly you believed that I could do it and that the cause I was doing it for was worth digging deep.

Thank you from The Stroke Association

Thank you from all the people affected by a stroke that your money will help.

And

THANK YOU from me.  xxx

World Stroke Day, 29 October 2012 + my crazy abseil!

Did you know that today is World Stroke Day?

Several months ago a friend forwarded an email from The Stroke Association.  They were  looking for volunteers to abseil down Battersea Power Station and raise some valuable funds for their organisation.  It piqued my interest for quite a number of reasons.  Moments later I had replied and signed up for the event.

Firstly, I’m not a fan of heights.  In fact, I get queasy going up in some lifts and can’t go to the edge of buildings with floor to ceiling glass.  However those of you who know me well, will also know that I’ll reframe this fear and create it into a challenge.  Scared of the sea, I learnt to scuba dive.  Fearful of being out of control, I did a skydive.  Logically, I can do this too – eeek!

Secondly, Battersea Power Station is an iconic building that has been part of my landscape for many years.  Since first moving to London 26 years ago, the silhouette has been a part of train or road journeys from North to South of the Thames.  Before much of the new London developments built over the last 26 years, it was always there unused and unloved but proud of his history and heritage.

The building was once a power station and decommissioned in 1983.  The building was Grade II protected against demolition and has been searching for a new owner and purpose ever since.  Wikipedia’s entry.

I understand the power station has been sold and that the new owners are working and reworking planning applications to redevelop the land.  I’m not sure what it will become or when the work will start.  There are many stories written of it crumbling.  I’ve no doubt however that the view that I’ve loved will change but am hoping that this ‘Cathedral of Industry’ will still retain much of it’s original character and beauty.

Thirdly, The Stroke Association is an organisation close to my heart (pun intended!).  They do incredible work supporting people and their family who have been affected by stroke.  They believe strongly in survivorship and ‘Life after Stroke’.

Many people think that a stroke only happens to older generations or perhaps those with an unfit lifestyle or that they aren’t as bad as many other illnesses or diseases.  Sadly in many cases this isn’t true.  A few facts below:

• An estimated 150,000 people have a stroke in the UK each year
• Stroke accounts for around 53,000 deaths each year in the UK
• 10,000 people under the age of 30 will have a stroke each year
Stroke is the third most common cause of death in England and Wales, after heart disease and cancer
• Stroke accounts for 9 per cent of all deaths in men and 13 per cent of deaths in women in the UK
• Stroke has a greater disability impact than any other chronic disease. Over 300,000 people are living with moderate to severe disabilities as a result of stroke
Three times more women die from stroke than breast cancer

A few of the reasons why I feel passionate about raising some funds for the Stroke Association and why I’m abseiling this coming Saturday.

My friend’s father, a fit and active retiree, who passed away suddenly.

Rob who had a stroke earlier this year which led to the discovery of bowel cancer.

And two little munchkins who are both very close to my heart.  Both were born with different diagnoses but devastatingly both sets of parents were warned that they will probably be affected by strokes throughout their lives.  Sadly for one child the strokes have recently started.  She doesn’t understand them nor understand what they are or why they’re happening.  So far they’ve not been bad strokes.

This Saturday is the date of my abseil.  You can only imagine how my palms go sweaty at the very thought of launching myself over the edge.  Genuinely I feel sick.  Genuinely I’ve questioned why I’m doing such a crazy thing when I hate heights.  Genuinely I’ve thought of backing out.  Then I remember the faces of those I’m doing this for.

I set myself a target fundraising figure of £425.00 and I’m chuffed to say that I’ve exceeded that.  BUT I also know that any pounds and pennies that can be raised over and above my own fundraising figure are needed.  I’m also keen that you know exactly how the Stroke Association use donated funds.

For every £1 donated:
79p goes to directly to supporting their work to fight stroke.
20p is invested to generate future revenue.
AND only 1p goes toward running the charity.

Find out more about the Stroke Association here or donate directly to the charity.

AND if you want to sponsor me and my insanity on Saturday 3 November 2012 please donate via my justgiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/annagoanna

PS Any donations over £500 and we’ll use my bottom as an advertising hoarding – well let’s face it that’ll be in most of the pictures and it’s large enough!