gertrude painter pictured partially sighted pensioner 96 who died abseiling for charity at a hospital

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By Anna Edwards

PUBLISHED: 03:11 EST, 31 July 2012 | UPDATED: 04:00 EST, 31 July 2012

A brave pensioner who died while abseiling down a 70ft hospital for charity has been named as Gertrude Painter.

The generous volunteer, who was partially sighted, suffered a suspected heart attack just as she started to descend Crawley Hospital in West Sussex, the Mirror newspaper reported.

Ms Painter was one of 50 people taking part in the event for Blind 4SIGHT on Saturday, which would have been her tenth abseil.

Courageous: Gertrude Painter, who died on the roof of Crawley Hospital in West Sussex on Saturday,as she was taking part in her tenth charity abseil

Courageous: Gertrude Painter, who died on the roof of Crawley Hospital in West Sussex on Saturday,as she was taking part in her tenth charity abseil

'Died doing what she loved best': Ms Painter was pronounced dead at the scene, prompting the second half of the charity abseil to be called off

'Died doing what she loved best': Ms Painter was pronounced dead at the scene, prompting the second half of the charity abseil to be called off

Her family called her a 'spirited' lady in an interview with the Mirror.

They said that the fearless character died helping out children with cancer and the visually impaired: 'She was spirited, full of character and much loved by her family and friends.

'She passed away doing what she loved best.'

Ms Painter had raised around £10,000 for charity, according to 4Sight chief executive Martin Pearson.

He said to the Mirror: 'She was a veteran to these events. It is a very sad day for our charity.'

Ms Painter's death prompted the second half of the abseil to be called off.

Generous: Ms Painter had raised nearly £10,000 for charity through her abseiling

Generous: Ms Painter had raised nearly £10,000 for charity through her abseiling

Scene of the tragedy: The entrance to Crawley Hospital in Sussex, where Gertrude Painter passed away

Scene of the tragedy: The entrance to Crawley Hospital in Sussex, where Gertrude Painter passed away

The 'spirited' lady's previous abseils included a 75ft drop from the roof of Fisher Tower at Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, for CLIC Sargent,a  charity that supports youngsters with cancer.

Fire crews were called to aid Ms Painter but she was declared dead at the hospital.

In a statement, 4Sight said: '4Sight have announced that the second half of their charity abseil at Crawley Hospital had to be called off.

'A female participant, who had previously taken part in several other charity abseils, was taken ill just as she was due to proceed, and was attended to by the team and emergency services staff, which led to the closure of the abseil area to other participants.

'The woman was later declared dead at the scene. The matter will be passed to the Coroner's officer.'

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