A DOTING grandmother has taken the plunge to help a charity close to her heart after the death of a youngster who was “like a grandson to us”.

Heather Stenhouse joined more than 300 other people in abseiling from the Forth Bridge last Saturday.

The grandmother, who has had two knee transplants and recently lost more than eight stones in weight, abseiled from Barns Ness Lighthouse, near Dunbar, last year before taking on the 165-ft drop in South Queensferry in aid of the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity.

Heather, who raised nearly £1,400, said the charity had been a great help to the family of young David Watson who was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma – a type of cancer that forms in certain types of nerve tissue – before passing away aged just four years old.

She said: “We have got 12 grandchildren and we have needed the charity ourselves.

“When David was bad, they were so good and they were beside us every step of the way. They supported us, kept us in the loop and I just think we all need the Sick Kids – either for our own children or somebody else we know.

“The money goes straight to looking after the children.

“They see the child, they don’t see the patient – that is the bit that is so important.

“At the end of the day, they are still children.”

Heather’s daughter Amanda is close friends with the Watson family, who live in Haddington.

The two families grew close together and Heather said David became like one of her own while he was undergoing treatment for the condition, which is one of the most common types of cancer in childhood.

Heather, who is also a member of Dunbar’s UNICEF committee, described the youngster as “full of life and a character in his own right”.

She added: “When he was diagnosed with the neuroblastoma, he just took it all in his stride. Any picture of him, he is always laughing and smiling. He kept us all going at times.”

Since David’s death in November 2013, Heather has regularly raised funds for the charity as well as collecting selection boxes each year in David’s memory to ensure each child in hospital and their siblings get a Christmas treat.

The florist, who works at Meg’s Flowers on Dunbar’s West Port, told the Courier she had lost eight stone in 65 weeks ahead of the abseil after joining Slimming World.

She said: “The abseil went fine. I have had two new knees and lost eight stone to do this and it was amazing.

“With the new knees, I thought it would be difficult but it was a lot easier than I expected.

“At 63 years old, if I can do it anybody can do it.”

To sponsor Heather, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/heathersmadhatters