Take part in a skydiving fund-raiser to help Lincolnshire children’s hospice

Supergran Maureen Kettle, left, did a skydive to raise money for St Andrew's Hospice.
Supergran Maureen Kettle, left, did a skydive to raise money for St Andrew's Hospice.
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A Lincolnshire children’s hospice is looking for people to sign up for this year’s Superhero Skydive.

The fund-raiser for St Andrew’s Children’s Hospice, which helps families in the Grantham area as well as around the county, takes place on Sunday, May 15, at Hibaldstow Airfield.

So if you have ever fancied experiencing the thrill of the free-fall, now is this perfect opportunity to do just that, and to have the added satisfaction of knowing that you are helping children and young adults who have a life-limiting illness.

One person who has already taken the challenge is retired dinner lady Maureen Kettle. Maureen who was 75 years old when she took part in the Superhero Skydive a couple of years ago, did the Skydive in memory her husband Ron, who spent his last few days at the St Andrew’s Adult Hospice, and her daughter Vanessa who died suddenly from an undetected heart defect at the age of just 44.

Maureen, who raised a phenomenal £1,500 from her jump, says: “I was very nervous when I did the Skydive, but was determined to do it. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life and although I won’t be hurrying to repeat the experience, I can see why people become addicted to skydiving. My instructor, Noel, was very competent and when they opened the door of the aircraft, I just shut my eyes and did as I was told.

“Although Noel made me feel very safe, I have to admit that I refused to open my eyes during the free-fall; but once the parachute opened it was lovely, Noel pointed out all of the landmarks such as the Humber Bridge and I could see for miles.”

Maureen, who originally signed up for the skydive after seeing a piece in the local paper, added: “I remember thinking to myself, I could do that. I know from personal experience how wonderful Hospice care is and I also know how it feels to lose a daughter. I wanted to do something special in memory of Ron and Vanessa and to help the families with children who need the services provided by the Children’s Hospice.

“If I can do it at the age of 75, then I am living proof that anyone can do it. I won’t be doing it again, but I would certainly recommend anyone to do it once as it is definitely the experience of a lifetime.”

St Andrew’s Hospice provides care for children and young adults who have a life-limiting illness. As importantly, the Hospice also provides care and support for the child’s family. St Andrew’s is the only children’s hospice in Lincolnshire and provides care for families from across the whole county. All care is completely free of charge to the families who need it, but keeping the Hospice open currently costs around £1.8 million per year, with only around three per cent of this coming from Government funding.

Hospice Events Co-ordinator, Angela Greenfield, said: “The Superhero Skydive has become an annual event on our fundraising calendar and is always a fantastic event. Since the skydive started in 2012, our Superheroes have between them raised thousands of pounds to help us to continue to provide care for local families. Most of those who have taken part have, like Maureen, said that it was the experience of a lifetime; some of them have loved it so much that they have gone back and done it again. Anyone can take part; Maureen has been our oldest Superhero so far, whereas our youngest was just 16.”

The Superhero Skydive is a tandem jump which allows you to experience the thrill of an adrenalin fuelled free-fall while safely harnessed to a British Parachute Association qualified instructor. This means that you need only a short 20 minute briefing before you take to the sky and you have the security of knowing that an experienced instructor will open and land the parachute, leaving you to enjoy your skydive.

The event takes place at Hibaldstow, near Brigg, and in order to take part, you must pledge to raise a minimum of £400. The Skydive is open to anyone aged 16 years or over and there is no upper age-limit. Participants aged 16 and 17 must have a consent form signed by a parent/guardian and anyone aged 40 or over, or who has an existing medical condition, must have their British Parachute Association Form signed or stamped by a doctor. There is also a maximum weight limit of 16 stones.

For more information on the Superhero Skydive or to request a registration pack, call Angela on 01472 571265 or e-mail angela.greenfield@nhs.net.

You can also register online at www.standrewschildrenshospice.com

All participants are required to pay a £100 deposit on registration, which does form part of the £400 minimum sponsorship requirement.