Family skydive raises over £5,600!
Saturday 13th November
- Fundraising & Events
When Farleigh supporter Tom Baxter decided to do a tandem skydive to raise money for the hospice, he had no idea it would turn into a family challenge, with seven members of his family jumping with him.
Chelmsford local Tom decided to make the jump in memory of his mum and father-in law, who were cared for by Farleigh Hospice in the last stages of their lives.
Inspired by a ‘Jump for Farleigh’ advertisement, Tom decided that a skydive was the fundraising challenge for him. When he told family members what he was planning to do, they decided to join him. On the day, Tom’s wife, daughter, son, dad, uncle, and nephew did the jump with him, making it a real family affair!
Tom’s dad and son are terrified of heights so he was surprised when they were so keen to take part. More surprising was that his uncle also wanted to jump as he had recently had a hip replacement, but after being cleared by his doctor to do it, he was really keen to take part.
The first date to do the 13 thousand feet skydive was unfortunately cancelled due to bad weather, but the Baxter family were lucky enough to be the only group able to jump on the next available date.
Speaking about the day Tom said: “We had the most amazing day, it was the most exhilarating experience. We made some amazing memories doing the skydive as a family and thoroughly enjoyed it. We are a close family, so it was really fantastic to share this experience with them. We were the only group able to jump that day because the cloud cover became too bad.
“As you prepare to jump it’s the weirdest feeling as you are nervous and excited all at once. You literally have to hang out of the plane just before you jump, and then you essentially summersault out of the plane. The views as you drop are amazing, but it all happens so quickly – I found myself wishing we could free fall for longer! I’d love to do it again. I recommend doing a sky dive to anyone, even if you’re scared of heights, my dad and my son are, and they both loved it!
“I had mixed emotions on the day, as we were doing it in aid of something that is close to my heart. It’s important to us to give something back to Farleigh, who do such amazing work in the community. I am so grateful to Farleigh for looking after my mum so well in her last days after battling pancreatic cancer for 18 months. They gave us the family room so we could all be with her for the three days she was in the hospice. Ten years prior to this, they looked after my father-in-law too. We wanted to do this jump to say thank you. We will definitely be doing more fundraising in the future, but perhaps the next challenge will be on the ground!
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of my friends and family who supported us and who sponsored us. Thanks to their donations we were able to raise £2,805 which was then generously matched by my employer, Barclays, making our total £5,610, so a big thank you to Barclays for doing that for me.”
Tom got creative when it came to encouraging people to sponsor him, and it worked. He produced video clips for social media and his JustGiving page of him doing funny things such as pretending to jump out of a plane, creating the wind effects with hair dryer.
Debbie de Boltz, Fundraising Manager at Farleigh Hospice said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to Tom and the rest of his family for undertaking such a big challenge to raise money for us. Thank you also to Tom’s employer, Barclays, for kindly matching the full amount raised. We are immensely grateful for fundraisers like Tom who do such inspiring things to raise money. Not everyone is brave enough to do something as extreme as jumping out of a plane at 13 thousand feet! It costs over £6 million each year for Farleigh to provide its much-needed services to those who need us in our community, and we simply couldn’t do what we do without the kindness of people like Tom and his family.”
Tom also took part in Farleigh’s Sit Up Challenge in November 2020 and raised over £1,000 which was also matched by Barclays.