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It's going, going thong for big-hearted Clifford
AS he curled his feet over the platform edge of the world’s highest bungee jump, the fear factor kicked in for fundraiser Clifford Oakes.
But the dad-of-two took a leap of faith to plunge 233m off China’s Macau Tower to raise £1,000 for an Abingdon toddler with cancer.
Maizie Rose, two, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in May.
Following the leap on October 5, binman Mr Oakes said: “As soon as you jump you are freefalling for six or seven seconds and it feels like your stomach is being ripped out.
“You feel like you want to grab onto something. You count down from five and I got to about three when the fear factor really kicked in.
“It was frightening. It did cross my mind that I might not be able to do it but I thought of Maizie and flying home without having done it.
“I always live on the edge, and I thought, why just live on the edge when you can jump from it?”
The 50-year-old from Park Road, Didcot, had never done a bungee jump before.
Mr Oakes has raised more than £200,000 since forming the Thong Ranger charity group in 2000.
The Thong Rangers and Rangerettes can be seen regularly in Didcot collecting cash in buckets and taking on fundraising challenges.
Mr Oakes said the jump from the AJ Hackett Macau Tower was by far the most mentally challenging stunt he has ever done.
Jumpers free-fall 200m before slowing down about 30m from the ground and rebounding back up.
The money is to look after Maizie now and in the future.
She is receiving treatment at Oxford Children’s Hospital, part of the West Wing at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington.
She had an operation to remove a tumour last month and is having stem cell treatment over the next few weeks.
Dad Phil Rose, 35, married to Emily, said earlier his family was grateful for the money being raised for Maizie.
In July, Val Prior and a team of volunteers launched the Changing Lives shop in Broadway, with proceeds going to Thong Rangers’ causes.
- For information, or to donate, visit http://thongrangers.co.uk
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