WALKING backwards along a vertical wall while dangling 100ft in the air might not appeal to most as a fun weekend activity.

Yet that was the challenge embraced by 240 supporters of Oxford Hospitals Charity, who bravely abseiled from the roof of the John Radcliffe Hospital this weekend.

Their Spider Man-esque descent down the Women’s Centre has been made worse by drizzly rain, adding the extra challenge of slippery footing.

Christine Hall conquered a lifelong fear of heights to complete the challenge yesterday, side-by-side with her brother Richard Hall.

Despite almost pulling out when she reached the roof, she was spurred on by bellows of support from the crowd below.

Visibly shaking for the entire descent, the 33-year-old was rewarded with a round of applause at the bottom and a hug from her six-year-old daughter Millie.

She said: “I’m really terrified of heights – the main reason I did this was to raise money, but it was also a personal thing to see if I could face that fear.”

The teaching assistant, who lives in Lewknor, said without the John Radcliffe Hospital she does not think her brother would still be alive.

Mr Hall, 28, was in and out of the hospital during childhood due to a medical condition, and seven years ago returned to fight serious injuries there after a car crash in Watlington.

He had several operations and doctors thought they would have to amputate one of his legs, but they managed to save it.

Catering manager Mr Hall, who lives in Botley, said it felt good to give something back.

His sister said staff were ‘amazing’, adding: “I genuinely think he wouldn’t be here without them.”

The Great Big Hospital Abseil will boost funds for the hospitals charity, which supports the departments and wards of Oxford University Hospitals across the county.

Participants paid to take part and rallied sponsorship, and the total on Saturday was already at £50,000 - meaning the abseil could be on track for a record-breaking year.

After being kitted out with a helmet and harness and teetering over the side, some abseilers cautiously lowered themselves down the rope, while others bounced unfazed to the ground.

The hospital charity’s events manager Gail Williams said: “People have been terrified, shaking, and still they have achieved.

“There is a mix of people raising money for their departments, and groups of friends, colleagues and families doing it to say thank you or in someone’s memory.

“What touches me is that people faced with a really difficult situation can turn around and do this amazing challenge to raise funds.”

Many staff members took part including a team from the John Radcliffe’s ambulatory assessment unit, who cheered on their colleagues from the ground.

The unit’s manager Ray Atienza-Hawkes said they took part to fundraise for the benefit patients, as well as for team-building.

Mother-of-three Lauren Helsby abseiled to help repay the hospital, which cared for her twins Jasper and Hugo when they were born premature in January.

The art and design lecturer, who lives in Benson, said: “They were just so amazing, the nurses were incredible.”

The charity’s chief executive Douglas Graham said: “It’s really fantastic to see the community turning out to give this level of support.

"This is them saying ‘thank you’ for the excellent care they have had.”