My grandmother and I just zipped across the quarry

By Twm Owen in Local People

A GRANDMOTHER who is facing her third cancer battle has zipwired across a disused quarry at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

Dorothy Harris was accompanied by her youngest granddaughter, Carrianne Ralph, to complete the daredevil challenge which raised more than £1,000 for the St David’s Hospice charity.

The 72-year-old, who faces major cancer surgery in September, is using the summer months to raise funds for the charity which has supported her and to enjoy herself.

“I’ve had two cancers and this is my third round now but I’ve got a little window until September when my life is my own and I’ve wanted to say thank you to all the fabulous people who’ve helped me and my family,” said retired pub landlady Dorothy.

She and Carrianne, 18, launched themselves off the 70 metre high cliff at the National Diving and Activity Centre in Chepstow to zip wire across the 80m deep flooded quarry.

The 700m long wire is said to be one of the longest, tallest and fastest zip slides in the UK.

“The stone from the quarry was used for the original Severn Bridge and you fly across it at 40 miles per hour and on the day we did it there was a cross wind.

“I’m very proud to have done it at my age,” said Dorothy who used to run the Farmer’s Arms in Cwmdu with late husband Robert before their retirement at the turn of the century. The couple also ran the Cwm Inn in Brecon.

Dorothy was first diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and again in 2009 but due to two surgeries earlier this year has had to wait until September before doctors can operate again. But she is determined to enjoy herself and she and former Gwernyfed High School head girl Carrianne, who lives in Llyswen and hopes to go to university in September, are also planning a ‘walk with a hawk’ challenge at Craig Y Nos Castle when they will handle birds of prey as their next fundraiser.

“I’m grateful that I’m here and very, very proud that I was able to do the zip wire as two months ago I couldn’t have done it. I can’t believe how I’ve fought back.”

Dorothy, who now lives in Govilon, said when she and Robert ran the Farmer’s Arms they were involved in fund-raising to establish the Usk House day hospice in Brecon which is now part of St David’s Hospice Care.

“When you go into a hospice you suddenly realise the people there can help you and they were amazing from start to finish.”