Two nurses who have worked in the NHS for more than 54 years between them have decided to abseil down the side of Lister Hospital in Stevenage to raise funds to transform outside areas of the hospital.

Continuing professional development nurse, Emer Corbett, and enterprise and apprentice lead, Ruth Sanderson, have signed up to take on the Lister Abseil challenge to raise funds for the Sunshine Appeal which will create an outside terrace so patients in the intensive care unit at Lister can be taken outside in their beds to enjoy the benefits of being outside in the fresh air, and also a decking area outside the restaurant for all patients, staff and visitors to enjoy.

Emer, who is based at Lister, said: “This is all Ruth’s fault! We work together in clinical education and she convinced me to join her in this adventure which will see two over 50-year-old nurses abseil down the 11-storey Lister tower block!

“I have worked as a nurse at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust since 1994 and 15 of those years were spent in intensive care with the sickest patients, some of whom were with us for months on end.

“The Sunshine Appeal really touched me. It is such a brilliant idea to allow patients to spend time outside, to see the sky, to feel the breeze and have time away from what can be a noisy, clinical environment.  

“Ruth worked in the emergency department at the same time I was working in intensive care, so we cared for many of the same patients. It is personal for both of us.”

Ruth added: “As soon as Emer explained what she wanted to raise funds for, I knew I had to do it, despite me wondering why anyone, let alone anyone our age, would want to lean backwards and drop the length of the tower block!

“My background is in the emergency department where I worked for over 20 years before moving into education. Both Emer and I have experienced first-hand the lack of outside spaces for our patients and our staff. After some shifts, I wouldn’t even know if it had been a sunny day or not.

“It is so important that our most unwell patients get the chance to spend time outside, to feel the sun and wind on their faces and see the sky – so I’m taking on this challenge to help create these vital spaces.”

Eloise Huddleston, charity director, said: “Thank you so much to Emer and Ruth for taking on this hair-raising challenge to raise funds to help us create outdoor spaces for patients, staff and visitors.

“They know from experience how important it is for us all, especially our most poorly patients, to be able to spend time outside in the fresh air and sunshine. It is a wonderful – and terrifying! – thing they are doing, and we will all be cheering for them on the day.”

You can support Emer and Ruth at 

For more information about the Sunshine Appeal, visit