A group of courageous Manx thrill-seekers have jumped 15,000 feet out of a plane, in memory of two very special little girls.
With travel support from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, 10 volunteers and supporters of A Little Piece of Hope, a charity which provides financial support and assistance to bereaved parents and children with mental and physical disabilities, took part in a sponsored tandem skydive at Black Knights Parachute Centre in Lancashire over two weekends.
Although all 10 jumpers were due to complete the skydive in one session, a fault with the plane meant five had to be rescheduled for the following weekend. The Steam Packet Company offered its support to both trips, providing reduced travel for the intrepid jumpers as they travelled to and from the UK.
The skydive was in memory of two precious baby girls who were stillborn, Hope-Samara, daughter of Helen and Phil Walmsley and Esmee-Sue, daughter of Robbie and Sara Quayle. Helen and Phil set up the charity in 2011 after the loss of their little girl, and have since helped hundreds of families on the Isle of Man who have been unfortunate enough to find themselves in similar circumstances.
Helen said: ‘Through dedicated fundraising and events we’re able to offer financial support to families for things like travel to and from UK hospitals, medical equipment and funeral costs. When you find yourself grieving the loss of a child or looking after a baby in need of medical care, the impact on your wellbeing is unimaginable. On top of that to have to consider the financial implications is almost too much to bear, so we founded A Little Piece of Hope to take a tiny piece of that strain away, and provide them with that small piece of hope.
‘So far the skydive has raised an astonishing £2,000, with final donations still coming in. These funds will go a long way and enable us to help more families in the Isle of Man as they come up against trying times. We’re so grateful to the Steam Packet Company for its invaluable support of this trip. Despite the last-minute nature of our second request the staff were really helpful and accommodating, it means a lot.’
Sara, mother of Esmee-Sue, added: ‘A Little Piece of Hope helps families through some of the most difficult times of their lives, and without its help and support we honestly wouldn’t be where we are today. Jumping 15,000 feet out of a plane is not something I ever thought I would do, but it was an incredible experience and to complete it in memory of Esmee-Sue and Hope-Samara made it even more special.’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘A Little Piece of Hope is a hard-working local charity which offers support to families who find themselves in very difficult circumstances. We were pleased to back this group of courageous jumpers and congratulate them for raising such a fantastic amount for the charity.’