Press releases

High flying octogenarian zips into her 80s in dizzying challenge

A thrill-seeking grandma celebrated her 80th birthday by taking on England’s fastest zipline to fundraise for ShelterBox.

5 April 2024

Group of 4 people holding a ShelterBox banner above the Eden Project

Press release – 28 February

A thrill-seeking grandma from Cornwall has celebrated her 80th birthday by taking on England’s fastest zipline, head-first, to raise funds for the international disaster relief charity, ShelterBox.

Anne Nicholas from Saltash reached speeds of 60mph as she flew 96 metres high over the iconic biomes of The Eden Project. Grandma Anne embraced the adrenaline filled challenge on her birthday to mark her special day in a memorable way whilst raising money for people around the world who have been left without shelter after disaster.

Unphased by the height and speed of the zip wire, Anne’s only fear was the activity being called off due to bad weather.

Grandma of four, Anne says: “I have been eager to ride the zip wire for many years and wanted to celebrate my 80th birthday in style, so it presented the perfect opportunity to finally get round to doing it.

“I was nervous that the weather might not permit us to take the ride, but luckily, despite a drizzly morning, it cleared when it was my turn, and I was able to see the view. It was great fun and not frightening at all. Mission accomplished!

“It made it even more special to have my family with me on the day and two of my children and one of my grandsons took the ride with me. Three generations flying together for a good cause!”

The attraction draw in thousands of people very year to Cornwall’s iconic eco centre. A head worn camera recording the ride means Anne can watch her flight video back, whenever she wants to relive her epic challenge. The funds raised from Anne’s zip wire ride will help ShelterBox support people around the world who have been uprooted from their homes by conflict or disaster.

Anne continues: “I also had the idea that for my special birthday, I should give something back. I’ve known about ShelterBox and the work it does around the world for some time as my local church group has held fundraisers for the charity before, but this is my first-time fundraising solo.

“I’ve had a wonderful amount of support from the community. As an active member of several community groups and the local sports centre where I attend fitness sessions every week, I have a good network supporting me.

“I’m pleased to have been able to help out in a little way and play my part in helping people in terrible situations who have lost their homes and belongings.

“My daughter wants me to do the world’s fastest zipwire which happens to be in Wales for my birthday next year. But I’ve decided I shall leave that to my 90th!

Many people have donated to Anne’s ShelterBox fundraiser, including her grandson James, aged 11, who has generously donated his pocket money to his grandma’s JustGiving page saying, ‘Go Grandma – so proud of you’.

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and other essential items, like water filters, blankets, kitchen equipment and solar lights to people around the world. Its teams listen to the needs of communities, tailoring each response to ensure people are being supported with items that will make a tangible difference to their lives.

The Cornwall-based charity has supported over 2 million people across around 100 countries since it was founded in 2000.

Community Engagement Officer from ShelterBox, John Stanbury says: “The zip wire is a mean feat for anyone, and we’re so impressed with Anne’s daredevil nature! It’s an honour to be selected as Anne’s charity of choice for her 80th birthday fundraiser.

“We rely on public donations, and it is supporters like Anne who help us raise awareness of the issues people are facing around the world, and critical funds for us to continue to support communities.

ShelterBox has launched an urgent appeal to fund its response in Gaza. The charity is working alongside Medical Aid of Palestinians (MAP) to get emergency aid to thousands of people who have lost their homes in the conflict. It’s also responding to crises in Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia and Mozambique.

People wishing to donate to Anne’s fundraising challenge can visit her fundraising page.

For more fundraising stories from ShelterBox people can visit:


For more information contact the press office at ShelterBox via [email protected].

Notes to Editors

  • Interviews available with Anne Nicholas and Louisa Arnold at ShelterBox
  • Images and captions included. The Gaza photo must be credited to Mohammed Zaanoun
  • Video footage of Anne’s flight can be found here.