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From Spain to Portugal in under two minutes

Fido taking offOn a beautiful sunny September morning, I nervously stood on a small, wooden platform, just below the castle at Sanlúcar de Guadiana, Spain, with seven other APAA supporters. We were waiting for our turn to cross the Guadiana River on a 720 metre long cable. Alcoutim in Portugal – our landing stage – seemed a long way off and the river was a long way down!

First to go was Fido, aka Jenny, President of APAA. Harness checked, tailed tucked in, she was off.

“Next?” came the call. With pounding heart and churning stomach, I quickly stepped forward as I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. The longer I waited, the more chance there would be of backing out, which really was unthinkable as I’d have to return a substantial amount of money to my sponsors.

My harness was checked, I was clipped onto the wire and I grabbed onto the metal bar of the pulley. I instantly worried that my sweaty palms would cause my hands to slip off! I raised my legs to the correct horizontal position, the gate was opened, there was a gentle push – and I was off, whizzing through space at 70 kph.

Coming in to landI thought that I’d have my eyes screwed tight and be gritting my teeth through fear, but not at all. It was amazing! It didn’t feel as if I was travelling that fast and I was able to look around at the scene ahead. I could see the landing stage and all the spectators far too soon. I wanted to be up there for much longer.

I didn’t like the ‘landing’ much. There was a sudden sharp braking and I was a little concerned when I overshot the safety net by around 3 metres before stopping, but all was well. I was pulled back to the landing stage, unclipped and on slightly wobbly legs made my way to join Fido and the other spectators to watch the rest of the APAA team descend.

Everyone arrived with smiles on their faces. The three men each continued on much further past the safety net because their weight had meant that they were zipping much faster than the ladies, but we all agreed that we wanted to go again!

After a much-needed drink in the town, we made our way to the restaurant for lunch where we joined supporters of the organisers, Streetlife, a new animal charity being launched in the Eastern Algarve that day.

Jenny and I had met the founder members, Linda and Graeme Cree, a couple of months ago. As a long-established animal charity, they were keen to learn from APAA and, if we agreed, form an informal working relationship with them. In the past, the various management boards of APAA had tried to forge relationships with other associations, but without any success, so we were more than happy to agree to their request.

Linda told us of their upcoming ‘Zip for a Snip Day’ and Jenny instantly said she’d love to be able to do it. When we were told that APAA could keep any sponsorship money we raised, we just had to take part as it was too good an opportunity to miss. At first, we thought that it would just be Jenny zipping – I’m a bit of a wimp – but somehow, much against my better judgement, I agreed to zip also. We sent out our poster and Jenny started to approach friends for sponsorship, but instead of offering money, people began to ask to zip too. Very soon, we were joined by Gill, Heather, Maggie and Tony. The other two zippers, Alistair and Miguel, only decided to join us five days before the event but still managed to raise some sponsorship money.

Our thanks must go to Streetlife for organising such a fun day, and we wish them every success with their sterilisation programme. Thanks too must go to our intrepid band of zippers for their support and help in raising a substantial amount of money for APAA. Our champion fundraiser for the day was Maggie, who later told us that this was one way of thanking APAA for helping to pay for life-saving surgery for her dog a few years ago.

And, of course, we have to thank those of you who supported one or more of our zippers with sponsorship. When we first thought about doing this, Jenny and I hoped we would raise €500. Then, as she and I started to get sponsorship, we thought we might just get €1,000. However, through the generosity of our supporters, we raised the staggering sum of over €1,800 !!! Although we don’t have an exact figure, we understand that Streetlife also raised a similar amount. A very successful day all round.

Now, we would be absolutely thrilled if we could make our total €2,000, so if you haven’t already sponsored us and would like to help us reach this magical figure, it isn’t too late. Just send an email to me at jackie.apaaportugal@gmail.com saying how much and how you would like to donate. You can take the money into one our shops (in an envelope marked ZIP please), pay it directly into our bank account (details on request) or give it to Jenny if you are attending an APAA event in the near future.

We know that you often support us already, but if you could just spare a little more … (I have no shame when asking for money!!).

For more info about the Guadiana Zipwire contact:

W: http://www.limitezero.com

For more information about Streetlife CLICK HERE or visit www.streetlife.pt

The APAA Zippers