Melvain’s 212-foot birthday surprise!

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Derby pensioner Melvain Clarke had the birthday surprise of a lifetime on Saturday when he arrived at Derby Cathedral… to be told he was signed up to abseil from the top of the 212-foot tower.

Sons Brett and Lee secretly paid £100 for their father Melvain (74) to take part our sponsored abseil event at the historic Cathedral.

Melvain said: “I turned up at the Cathedral on my birthday and was asked if I had my trainers with me. When I asked why, they said they had signed me up to abseil from the top of the tower.

“I said, ‘you’ve got to be joking’,” he added.

But they were serious. And wife Margaret was in on the stunt – she had her husband’s trainers in her shopping bag!

“I knew nothing about it beforehand. I was a bit dumbfounded. But then I quite fancied having a go. And up I went! The view of the city from the top was fantastic!”

Melvain was one of almost 100 abseilers who took a ‘leap of faith’ to raise money for Rainbows from the tower, which is the country’s second highest.

They included Radio Derby breakfast show presenter, Martyn Williams, who had been nominated by BBC colleagues to ‘have a go’ and broadcast his descent live on the day.

Rainbows event organiser Ali Furlong said: “It was a wonderful day, which drew people of all ages make the ‘drop from the top’ and raise money to help Rainbows support youngsters and their families when they need it most.”