Jack zips from the roof of the Baltic to raise funds for MND

On Sunday 5th March thirteen-year-old Jack Leslie zipped across the River Tyne from the rooftop of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease.

When Jack found out that his grandfather, Mike Furlonger (who has always been a very important person in Jack’s life) had been diagnosed with MND, he resolved to help him in any way he could. As well as helping in practical ways, he decided to raise sponsorship money to help support Motor Neurone Disease patients in the North East.

Jack and his Grandpa both love sports and Jack particularly enjoys Taekwando, Parcour, Rugby and Extreme Trampoline. For him, the prospect of the zip wire flight was really thrilling as well as a great way of raising funds for a very deserving cause and honouring a very special person.

Jack and his Grandfather

The weather forecast was gloomy, but Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny and as Jack and his family made their way to the Baltic in the highest of spirits.  Friends gathered in the Baltic café and at about 10 to eleven Jack went to the zip wire registration desk; from there, he took the lift to the top floor of the building, to await his turn on the zip wire.

Meanwhile the rest of Jack’s family and friends headed across the Millennium Bridge to a vantage point on the north side of the river, close to the zip wire landing platform. Here they met up with Marian Dent from the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and together they all soaked up the sunshine and the exciting atmosphere on the Quayside.

Jack’s support crew

Suddenly there was a phone call to say that Jack had been fitted with his safety harness and was the next to take his turn on the zip line!  All eyes were on the Baltic rooftop where we could see Jack’s legs dangling over the edge of the roof; then suddenly he was in the air and hurtling towards us on the 280m zip line at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, looking larger every second as he drew nearer.

Jack in mid-flight

He landed smoothly on his feet and the man who helped unclip him from the wire said, ‘That was a perfect descent.’  Jack, slightly dazed but smiling broadly, climbed down to greet his Mum and give his Grandpa a big hug.

Jack’s exciting adventure has raised over £900.00 in sponsorship for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Rose Furlonger

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