Blue sky day for chemo appeal

Joseph Bulmer

Skydivers make a big leap for local cancer patients

THRILL seekers took to the skies on Saturday to raise money for a new chemotherapy unit for North Devon.

It was hearts-in-mouths stuff for the 21 big-hearted supporters who signed up to take part in the second sponsored tandem skydive at Dunkeswell airfield, organised in aid of Northern Devon Healthcare Trust’s Chemotherapy Appeal.

And brave jumpers were rewarded with clear blue skies and far-reaching bird’s eye views across Devon as well as a 15,000ft vertical drop.

A similar event in June raised around �10,000 and organisers estimate the weekend’s jump could fetch �5,000 for the appeal.

Among those who took part on Saturday was Northern Devon Healthcare Trust’s deputy chief executive Andy Robinson.

Fellow participant Melanie Powell said she’d enjoyed her skydive so much she want to do it all over again.

“I had an amazing skydive and raised �606.50,” she said.

Kelly Edgar said it was both “terrifying and exhilarating”.

“My hands have never shaken so much – thanks to both the Skydive UK guys and Ian Roome for keeping me calm, and a big thanks to all my sponsors.

“It’s a brilliant cause and I can’t wait to see it completed,” she added.

Northern Devon Healthcare Trust Charitable Fund is raising money to replace the outdated and cramped facilities at North Devon District Hospital with a brand new stand-alone chemotherapy unit alongside the main hospital building.

It hopes the �2.2million campaign will make a difference to the lives of nearly 5,000 local cancer patients who use the existing service in Barnstaple every year.

Fund-raising manager Ian Roome thanked all those who raised money and took part in the event, especially those who conquered their fear of heights for the charity.

“It’s really amazing to see what lengths people will go through to raise money for our appeal,” he said.

“Some of the participants were understandably quite nervous to begin with but once they had landed it was clear to see the delight on their faces.

“By taking part in such an exhilarating day they have helped cancer patients in North Devon for generations to come and I am sure it will be one that will live long in the memory.”

The sponsored parachute jumps have proved so popular that a special “Santa skydive” is being organised for Saturday, December 17.

“It’s the first time such an event has been done at Dunkeswell so if you want to deliver a special fund-raising gift to help others this Christmas, get in touch,” added Mr Roome.

To find out more about the Santa skydive or other ways in which you can help the appeal, telephone Ian Roome on (01271) 311772 or email