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Nervous Paula will abseil to raise funds for Unicef children's charity

JUST 18 months ago she was too nervous even to try out a sport.

But now Paula McGuire is overcoming her anxieties to take on a challenge even the bravest would flinch at.

The 33-year-old plans to abseil down Glasgow's 174ft Finnieston Crane in order to raise money for Unicef.

For the past year-and-a-half McGuire has been trying out each of the 17 Commonwealth Games sports in order to overcome her shyness.

As Unicef is the partner charity of Glasgow 2014, Paula thought she would support the organisation by taking part in the challenge, which is being held on the same day she is a Baton Bearer.

Paula said: "I have been working my way through each of the Commonwealth sports and that has come from a place of having tried no sport at all.

"Not only am I aquaphobic, but I'm a nervous wreck of a person.

"One day I decided I was going to try all of the sports - who better to try and prove that there's a sport out there for everyone than someone like me?"

After being scalded by boiling water as a toddler, Paula became terrified of water and would not swim.

As part of her 17 sports challenge, she was determined to get in a swimming pool and travelled to Manchester for lessons with an expert.

Although she is improving little by little, the fact the Finnieston Crane sits on the bank of the Clyde is going to prove difficult.

Paula added: "I'm not afraid of heights, surprisingly, and I think I'm going to be okay climbing up there and even abseiling down.

"But I'm told you can see the water from the crane, so that's something I am going to have to work very hard at to overcome.

"I'm excited, though, more so than nervous."

Unicef has also teamed up with the Sunday Herald and The Herald for our Children of the Commonwealth Appeal.

Paula will be joined on her fundraising adventure by Sunday Herald editor Richard Walker.

Richard added: "We've been working together with Unicef on our Children of the Commonwealth project and I am delighted to be able to help them - even if it means I might break my neck."

Paula added: "Everyone knows about Unicef, it's almost in your psyche.

"But I've been learning more and more about the charity and what it does.

"I had a lovely upbringing with every opportunity and I denied myself the chance to try all of these wonderful things because of my nervousness and anxiety.

"There are children out there who don't even have the chance to try these things so I think it's important that I raise money for Unicef and give young children a chance."

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