Esther goes over the edge!

Thu, 08 Mar 2012 15:52:00 GMT

Esther Keenan

Esther Keenan with fellow abseilers Coun Eric Firth, the Mayor of Kirklees (left) and rugby league star Robbie Hunter-Paul

WHEN Esther Keenan turned up for work at Huddersfield University – as she has been doing almost every day for 30 years – she had no idea that it would involve her clambering down a sheer wall, clinging to a rope...

As a cleaner, she knows almost every nook and cranny of the interior of the University’s 14-storey Central Services Building. Now she has made the acquaintance of one its exterior walls as well, after taking part in an organised abseiling session which raised funds for local charity the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.

At the age of 71,  Esther is one of the University’s oldest employees and  definitely one of the oldest who dared to have a go at abseiling, alongside figures such as the Mayor of Kirklees, rugby league star Robbie Hunter-Paul and the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan.

Esther, who was born in Ireland and came to the UK in 1960, cleans the Vice-Chancellor’s office and often has a chat with Prof Cryan. She had spotted the abseiling equipment being set up and confessed that she had always fancied a go herself. Immediately, Prof Cryan said he would pay her fee, and 20 minutes later she was at the top of the building, ready to climb over the edge....

“He didn’t give me time to change my mind!” she laughed. “But I’m always up for a challenge and I absolutely loved every moment of it. I’d definitely be keen to have another go next year,” said Esther, who lives in Dalton.

Later on, she certainly had a tale for her husband Patrick. He had no idea of his wife’s abseiling exploits until she returned home at teatime.

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