68-year-old skydiver raises £5,000 in memory of granddaughter

05 October 2018

68-year-old skydiver raises £5,000 in memory of granddaughter
A Horsham grandmother jumped out of a plane on Saturday to support maternity care after her granddaughter, Poppy, was stillborn last year.

Gytha Hodgson’s son, Roo, and his wife, Carly, family made it through the traumatic experience thanks to the specialist bereavement staff at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital. The charity worked with Poppy’s parents, Roo and Carly, to launch Poppy’s Fund, raising money for a range of improvement projects that will enable the maternity team to continue providing first-class care for many more families.

The 68-year-old, who has already raised an incredible £5,200 so far, said: “I am overwhelmed by the generosity of my sponsors who I can’t begin to thank sufficiently and can only hope that the funds I have raised will make a huge difference.”

Although this was the first time she’d taken part in a skydive, knowing what she was doing it for gave her the courage to make the jump and she was joined by Roo so that he could support her every step of the way.

“As I stood and watched the plane climbing to 13,000 feet I must admit my heart was in my mouth and I wondered why on earth I had agreed to this challenge which was totally out of my comfort zone, but then I remembered Poppy and the reason I was doing this to try and help other families like facing up to a most devastating, life changing tragedy.”

"I had a great instructor who made me feel pretty relaxed, but the fifteen minute climb in the plane seemed like a lifetime. The views over the Northamptonshire countryside were stunning in the early morning sunshine.

We were warned that on exiting the plane we would be doing a backwards somersault before starting the free fall. Photos show me with my eyes tightly shut on exit, but soon I even managed a smile. It took five minutes to reach the ground and was quite amazing, if not a little surreal!  We had a text book landing and I lived to tell the tale!"

Thanks to generous donations and fundraisers like Gytha, families at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital will benefit from specialist equipment, improvements for the hospital environment and counselling services for bereaved or traumatised parents.

To find out more about Poppy’s Fund, click here.

To sponsor Gytha’s brave fundraising, donate via her JustGiving page.