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City Lit comes down to earth

Passers-by stared in amazement as 40 college staff abseiled down their new six-storey building in central London.

The staff at City Lit, in Covent Garden, joined by a few of their students, were raising funds for their programmes for learning in the community, and for the homeless. More than pound;3,500 was pledged in sponsorship to provide basics such as books and art materials for the work with the homeless.

The event formed part of a wider appeal, which has so far raised pound;600,000 to equip the pound;21 million building. It is the first building specifically developed for adult education in 40 years, the college said.

Principal Peter Davies was among those who made the daring descent. A former rear admiral in the Royal Navy with 35 years' service, he said it was not the first time he had abseiled.

But descending a building in central London with an audience of more than 100 was very different from the cliffs he has leapt down in the past.

"We had loads of people watching on the street," he said.

"It was nice to have all those people down there cheering you on - it helps to get you over the wall.

"Most of them were wondering what it was all about, which meant they found out all about City Lit.

"Hopefully, they'll tell all their friends about us."

City Lit is the country's largest adult education college, offering courses to 24,000 adults a year in subjects ranging from performing arts to speech therapy.

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