Northumberland great-grandmother jumps at chance of doing skydive on her 73rd birthday

A great-grandmother is preparing for her first skydive to celebrate her 73rd birthday.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 3:53 pm

Joan Ford, from Longhouhton, is doing the sponsored tandem skydive at Shotton Colliery in County Durham on May 12.

She said: “At the moment I feel fine but when it comes to falling out of a plane it might be slightly different.”

Joan is raising money for HospiceCare North Northumberland and with £575 pledged so far is well on her way to her £750 target.

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Joan Ford is doing a sponsored skydive.

It is something she has been hoping to do for some time.

"I was going to do it for my 70th and things got in the way and the same happened on my 71st and then, of course, last year everything was off because of Covid,” she explained.

"Then Emma Arthur from the hospice posted that they were going to do another skydive session and I said okay.

"At Christmas I asked my family to give me money as opposed to gifts and I used that to pay the £200 for the jump and got booked in and set up the fund-raising page.

A tandem skydive. Picture: Pixabay

"I suffered from breast cancer 14 years ago and have a lot of friends who have gone through the same thing and I’ve had friends who had different kinds of cancer for which there is no cure.

"While many big cities will have a Maggie’s Centre where people can stay, in a rural area like Northumberland there is very little of that sort of thing which is where the hospice comes in for anyone suffering from an incurable cancer.

"It’s such a wonderful place for people to be able to go and get some respite, do something different and take their mind off it. When you have any form of cancer it can be all consuming and, because of Covid and the lack of fund-raising opportunities, these charities have really missed out.”

HospiceCare North Northumberland has provided palliative care and support to people living with life-limiting illnesses since 1995. The closure of its three shops in lockdown and cancellation of fund-raising events left it facing a financial black hole of around £50,000 a month but it has got through with the support of local communities.

Great grandmother Joan Ford with her family.

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Joan Ford.