A young woman from Dunfermline has taken on a daring abseil challenge to help fund research into brain tumours.

Lizzie Windmill, 25, completed a free-fall abseil from the iconic Forth Rail Bridge on Sunday 9 June, with a drop of 165ft onto the sandy beach below.

Working in administration for Stagecoach in Cowdenbeath, Lizzie was inspired to take part to raise funds for the charity Brain Tumour Research because her father John Windmill, 49, who also lives in Dunfermline, was diagnosed in August last year with a meningioma brain tumour.

Lizzie was accompanied in her abseil challenge by best friend Claire Wright who she has known since they were both at Dunfermline High School together. Claire, 25, also works for Stagecoach.

Lizzie said: “It was horrible when Dad was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He hadn’t been feeling well for a few months and we persuaded him to go to the GP. The next thing we knew he was sent for an MRI scan which revealed a tumour the size of a grapefruit.

“We are a very close family - I am one of five brothers and sisters and I have a four-year-old son, Lyle. We were all very scared. Dad is amazing and a fantastic grandad to Lyle. He is so inspiring and always seems to have a smile on his face – even now after all he has been through.

“Dad underwent successful surgery in the Great Western Hospital in Edinburgh, but it has now been confirmed he has epilepsy. He has had to give up his driving licence and, as he was a coach driver, he is unable to work for the foreseeable future.

“I was shocked to discover how little funding goes into research into brain tumours. Dad is lucky that his tumour turned out to be low-grade and the surgeons are confident they have managed to remove pretty much all of it. However, less than 20% of brain tumour patients survive beyond five years, compared with an average of 50% across all cancers. It spurred me on to take on a challenge to help make a difference.

“I was really excited about doing the abseil and didn’t think I was scared of heights until I found myself on top of the bridge and having to climb over the edge. That was really nerve-wracking! But once I had got started, I was able to really enjoy myself. And the views are spectacular.

“I am so grateful to everyone who has donated to our fundraising page, and very pleased that between us we have raised more than £1,000.

“I sincerely hope our efforts will help raise awareness of this awful disease and draw attention to the historic underfunding of research which has gone on for far too long.”

Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence in the UK; it also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is calling for an annual spend of £35m in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.

Joe Woollcott, community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research in Scotland, said: “We would like to thank Lizzie and Claire for their abseil challenge to support Brain Tumour Research. John’s story reminds us that 16,000 patients are diagnosed with brain tumours each year and kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer and more women under 35 than breast cancer.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Lizzie’s mum, Julie, and sister, Billie-Jo, for volunteering to help on the day with registering the abseilers and getting them ready to go up. Julie and Billie-Jo, your assistance was invaluable!”

To sponsor Lizzie and Claire go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lizzy-claire