Skydiving for St Catherine’s
George Hebberd bravely took to the skies for St Catherine’s after his dad was cared for by the hospice. He raised over £2,300 and tells us more about his daredevil fundraising:
When did you first become aware of St Catherine’s?
In early 2018 my dad became unwell and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The hospital put us in contact with St Catherine’s Hospice. The wonderful nurses came out to see Dad at home and then made arrangements for him to stay in the hospice for the last week of his life.
How did St Catherine’s support your dad and the family when he was unwell?
It was only 12 weeks from feeling unwell, and six weeks from diagnosis, before Dad passed away.
St Catherine’s were amazing, from the time my mum got the call to say they had a room, the transport, and being greeted at the door. The care, empathy and dignity they gave to my Dad was amazing. The hospice was like a “crutch” holding Mum and the family up, being very supportive and a shoulder to cry on.
What made you decide to raise money for St Catherine’s?
I wanted to give something back to the hospice to help other families facing the same devastating situation. Also, to thank all the staff at the hospice for looking after my Dad, especially the lovely nurses called Lavender and Carol.
Why did you decide to do a skydive?
I was given an experience voucher for a skydive for a present and I knew it would be a wonderful way to fundraise for the hospice. It was a great experience.
How did you feel on the day of the skydive?
I felt nervous (I couldn’t eat much breakfast!) but I had family and friends there too for support.
What was the experience like?
The experience was amazing! Dangling out of an airplane at 15,000ft in the air and looking down at some amazing views. Once out of the plane it was very hard to breathe, but after one-minute free fall, which felt like five seconds, the parachute was deployed.
The most thrilling but scary part of the jump was sprawling down through a black cloud with the ground not in sight and all of a sudden the ground was suddenly there. It just appeared from nowhere!
How did you feel afterwards?
Very overwhelmed and a little bit emotional as I did it not for myself, but for my dad and an amazing hospice – we could never repay what they did for us.
You raised over £2,300 – an incredible amount! Was the fundraising a challenge?
I reached my JustGiving target with the help of my girlfriend Natalie, both families, and good old social media – everyone knew it was for a very good charity.
What would you say to anyone else thinking of doing a skydive for St Catherine’s?
Why not tick it off your “bucket list” experiences and include raising money for St Catherine’s! It’s an experience you won’t forget, it’s got to be one of the best things I have ever done.
What is your next challenge?
Wingwalking. I think!