Navy Aviators abseil to support youth in crisis

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (author)

Location(s): Circular Quay, Sydney

Topic(s): Fleet Air Arm, Sir David Martin Foundation

Fleet Air Safety Officer, Lieutenant Commander Natalee Johnston, sits high above historic Circular Quay after stepping off the edge of the 26th floor of Sydney's AMP Building to raise money for the Sir David Martin Foundation. (photo: ABIS Richard Cordell)
Fleet Air Safety Officer, Lieutenant Commander Natalee Johnston, sits high above historic Circular Quay after stepping off the edge of the 26th floor of Sydney's AMP Building to raise money for the Sir David Martin Foundation.

Navy aviators from the Fleet Air Arm observed a minute of silence on the top of the 26 storey AMP Building in Circular Quay on Friday, before gearing up and abseiling off the side for charity.

The 10 personnel team from HMAS Albatross removed their helmets before their descent to pay tribute to fellow ‘gentle thrill seeker’ CPOATA Kane Vandenberg who tragically passed away last week in a cycling accident.

Team leader, Commodore Vince Di Pietro says it was important for the group to remember their colleague.

“Friday was a terrific Navy day.  We remembered one of our Fleet Air Arm people who was a committed sailor and who had contributed many years of service to Naval aviation.   We then honoured his memory by following  through on our commitment to leave our comfort zone to help raise money for kids in need of a helping hand to get back on track,” said Commodore Di Pietro.

“By abseiling from the AMP Building, the team pushed themselves mentally to face a significant challenge. At the same time, at the same time raising over $21,000 to support the Sir David Martin Foundation.

“The Foundation works to support help ‘youth in crisis’, by giving them skills and tools to turn their lives around. By taking part in ‘Abseil for Youth’, we’ve been able to make a small contribution to help their worthwhile cause.

This is the fourth year that the event has been held. So far it has raised $723,000, with the organisers hoping to crack the one million dollar mark in 2013.

All of the funds raised assist the Sir David Martin Foundation support the most disadvantaged youth who are often too hard or complex for simple support strategies. These young people are struggling with addictions, homelessness, mental health issues, abuse, depression and self-harm.

Sir David served in the Royal Australian Navy for four decades, retiring as a Rear Admiral before being appointed as Governor of New South Wales.

Donations can still be made to the support Team NAVY - Fleet Air Arm at http://ampabseilforyouth2013.gofundraise.com.au/page/teamNAVY and http://ampabseilforyouth2013.gofundraise.com.au/page/FAAVDP.