Great grandmother to skydive in fundraiser for hospice

A great grandmother will tick skydiving off her bucket list in the name of charity.

Thursday, 23rd March 2017, 10:16 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:52 am
Susie Downie-Lipscombe will skydive to raise cash for charity

Susie Downie-Lipscombe will launch herself off an aeroplane from thousands of feet on her late husband’s birthday to raise funds for the hospice that cared for him.

Susie lost husband John Downie to prostate cancer six years ago, and spent the last few weeks at his bedside – where she was looked after and comforted by staff at the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted.

Susie, who works at Hemel Hempstead Hospital as a haematology consultant, was looking for ways to raise money for the hospice when she looked at a leaflet handed to her by her new husband Roger Lipscombe, who she married last October.

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Susie Downie-Lipscombe is taking on a skydive for the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted

It was there that she spotted the chance to do the skydive, on what would have been John’s 72nd birthday.

Susie told the Gazette: “Doing a skydive has always been on my bucket list to do, but I needed an incentive to do it.

“When I looked at the date of the skydive and saw it was on my late husband’s birthday it was like a sign – and I said I would do it there and then.

“I’m 70 in August, so it might be too late to do it next year anyway.

Susie Downie-Lipscombe is taking on a skydive for the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted

“I’m not brave, I’m just a mad old bat really. It’s a few minutes out of my life to raise a lot of money.”

Susie has already raised £1,830 before she’s even completed the skydive, well beyond the £430 target she had originally set herself.

Susie, who has four great-grandchildren and lives in Leverstock Green in Hemel Hempstead, said: “The hospice have been blown away by what I’ve raised so far, and it’s only been going for 10 weeks.

“I work at the hospital and all the patients have been sponsoring me as well as friends and family.

“I stayed at the hospice for the last week of John’s life. I was married to him for 43 years.

“On the last night I was there the kids and grandchildren were there as well.

“All the staff at St Francis looked after us all so well, so it would be nice to give something back. The hospice really is an amazing place.”

The hospice relies on voluntary donations for 80 per cent of its £5 million running costs, much of which come from the fundraising efforts of its supporters like Susie.

It has a selection of challenges you can undertake to raise money on its website.

To donate to Susie’s fundraising campaign, please visit