Brave Becky’s skydive for dad

Becky Leonard with daughter Amelia
Becky Leonard with daughter Amelia

A brave mum will take the plunge to do her first skydive to support the local charity which supported her father before he died.

Becky Leonard, from Hindley, will jump out of a plane at 11,000ft to raise money for Wigan and Leigh Hospice (WLH).

Her dad Brian died on the Hindley-based hospice’s in-patient unit after a five-day stay there last year.

Becky, 33, decided to do the skydive in his memory in the year he would have turned 80 and hopes to raise around £500 for WLH by jumping from a plane at the annual white-knuckle charity event.

She said: “My dad had a debilitating stroke and we cared for him at home for 14 months. When he started to decline we were put in touch with the hospice although we were thinking we might want to keep him at home.

“I’d never been in the hospice before and I didn’t know what it did; I thought that you just came in and died. I also had a perception it was just for cancer patients, I didn’t realise they could help people like us.”

Brian received care from the Hospice In Your Home team for two weeks being referred to the Kildare Street unit. Becky says her dad would have approved of her daredevil exploits.

She said: “He was a free spirit, a thrill seeker - if you went to a theme park he’d be the first on the biggest rollercoaster - so I know if he were here he’d have been the first to say go for it.

“A number of my friends and colleagues have also used the hospice and you don’t realise how much an integral part of the community it is until you need it. I can’t thank the hospice enough for what they’ve done for us as a family.

“It was just little things: dad hadn’t been outside in 18 months and staff made it so we could wheel him outside and he could feel the breeze on his face and the sun was shining. He had a taste of whisky too and he was really responsive which he hadn’t been for months. He loved nature and birds, if you went around he’d always be outside in the garden, so it meant a lot.”

Places are still available for the skydive at the Black Knights Parachute Centre in Lancaster on May 21 by emailing fundraising@wlh.org.uk or ringing 01942 525566.

To sponsor Becky visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Rebecca-Leonard10